Strength Hope and Gratitude
We all know that some days are hard
If not careful they can leave us scarred.
“A sense of humor is required”
As Carolyn’s kickin’ cancer is inspired.
Strength is ours for every struggle,
Grace and grit gets us through any trouble.
“Be faithful always in small things”
God’s grace soars on butterfly wings.
There is guidance for every decision
When hope and gratitude are the vision.
Strength can grow without understanding
Our human frailties become less demanding.
“Look for the good in every day”
Music and beauty can light our way.
“Strength, hope and gratitude”
Expand our horizons and attitude.
“Be faithful always in small things”
God’s grace soars on butterfly wings.
These are gifts to own and nourish
Friends of ours always to cherish.
Andrea Grillo ~ February 2016
I found this child’s drawing on a paper bag and have tacked it up in my studio. It’s a visual conversation between two young people:
“Dose any Body want to play with me”
The misspelling in the question just adds to its precious simplicity, truth and beauty. That there is a positive answer warms my heart.
winter stars dip down to earth in words “I will”
Hello again. Just when you thought that I was finished with my daily blogging and January’s small stones, I’m back. February has been designated (at least by haiku poets) as National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). This is an appropriate match since February is the shortest month of the year and haiku is the shortest genre of poetry. For the next twenty-nine days (an extra leap year day), I will be posting at least one haiku or senryu daily. Haiku, as related here, are very short one-breath poems that are nature-based or referenced in order to note and share a common experience/observation. Senryu, haiku’s sibling, are one-breath poems that deal more with human nature and foibles. Strict syllable counts are not adhered to, and the 5/7/5 – seventeen syllable structure – will be a rare sighting on these posts.
Traditional or contemporary haiku – ku as they are sometimes referred to – are like compact abstract paintings. It’s the distilled essence of the observation being recorded rather than a full factual account or representation. Less is more.
That being said, there is one traditional 5/7/5 haiku (it just happened to work out) in this first sequence:
Sunday morning friends
she hands me my favorite
on a porcelain teacup
we speak of old loves
spent tea leaves
we wonder who will be the next
steward of the land
Tucked into a sunny yellow pitcher-vase filled with fern, dainty caramel-colored roses, daisy-like chrysanthemums with lime green centers and wisps of goldenrod in bud came the simple note:
“You are loved”.
I am blessed for this and more friendship and family love, support and humor than I can possibly describe. For me, in between all the wonderful pitchers of flowers, poems, painting, dishes and such come periods and visits with depression. I am a person who sees the glass more than half full – someone who is filled with wonder at the sighting of acorns and oaks, moss and lichen on winter-wood, early morning dew and waves on the beach, profanity, profundity and poetry – i.e. all of life. And yet, I too can slip into dark periods best explained as close to hiding in a damp shadowy cave. Depression is not a state of mind or mood swing. It’s a physical and painful emotional state when your vitality or life force is ripped away, and all hope and humor disappears. You lose control of an objective rational approach to problem solving, your literal and figurative appetite and plain living. Sylvia Plath’s bell jar decends and from under its glass your inner and outer vision are distorted. Thankfully my times of depression are not as severe as many others, and I now know that an end is surely in sight. Depression can visit unexpectedly as well as build slowly and steadily. It is fairly common, democratic and browbeats at varying degrees.
I share all of this now, because it goes along with sharing the sun-yellow roses, poetry and paintings. It is life as a tapestry – well worn yet more beloved for its wear and tear and frayed edges.
To all my friends and family from my youth through new arrivals on the horizon – thank you always for the flower bouquets coming from your hearts and your compassionate understanding.
under-painting with blue brush strokes a tender portrait
I went to a rockin’ open mic last night at Rest Stop Rejuvenate (RSR), an intimate and charming listening room, with a tiny stage and a big creative sound! RSR is a recovery-friendly and audience participatory/supportive venue. For a small donation, you get to enjoy three to four hours of local artists (i.e. regular folk by day) playing and jamming their hearts out along with coffee, tea and cookies. Last night was special, although I seem to say that about almost every open mic at RSR lately. The talent is off the charts repeatedly. We were treated to acapella song, guitar, mandolin, keyboard, harp, udu and djembe drums, steel pedal guitar, a mix of electronic music (by cell phone) and spoken word, slam poetry, personal poetry, reading of a Robert Frost poem from memory and more. The age demographic ran from early twenties to late sixties and the creative mix from cover songs to improv original work. It was an absolutely amazing night with a heartfelt tribute to the late great David Bowie. The energy and sense of community is truly built and felt through hugs, music, poetry and artistry. It’s so much more than an open mic – it’s a modern family with all its lovely, quirky, colorful and supportive appeal every third Saturday night of the month.
Last night some dear friends gathered at my home and gifted me an African drum. It touched my heart on many levels. But mostly, it is an invitation to join in community with them, the traditions and conversations of local and global drum circles which are as ancient as life itself. Drumming can be used as a tool for artful creation, balance and healing. For me, the drum and its gift are also gentle reminders to connect with my tender loving self. They showed me how to hold it, feel into it and honor it. The djembe drum is beautifully hand-carved from hardwood and the drumhead is made of untreated rawhide.
According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying “Anke djé, anke bé” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace” and defines the drum’s purpose.
Who can ask for more? As I believe that the gift is in the giving, it was truly wonder-full to see the light on their faces as my own face lit up when I opened their gift. The circle of giving and receiving, love and friendship, drum circles and community is the treasure. As my friend Robin would say “I am forever grateful.”
in the dark of night a quiet conversation with my hands
We often give very little consideration to those people who live toward the edge of our lives. They’re not part of our inner circle but orbit somewhere on the far circumference – so much so that we hardly pay attention to them until they disappear. Usually for me this means they move out of my figurative or literal neighborhood. When this happens, their presence comes into sharp focus because of their new or pending absence. It does not matter how little contact I really have with them – it’s always more than enough for some tearful grief.
news of her moving flashbacks to winter in fourth grade
ag ~ 2015