The Conversation of the Soul

I’ve been dabbling with art since I can remember.  My parents enrolled me in an art classes starting at least when I was nine or ten, perhaps earlier, but that’s the first art class I remember clearly.  We met at a library and did a lot with crayola markers and pencils.  I remember being hooked when I figured out how to draw the little drips of wax on a burning candle and drawing lots of burning candles after that.

As a teenager I got to start painting with acrylics, which was the medium of choice for my art teacher at the time, and I’m glad it was because I love the versatility of acrylics and the way they can be adapted for so many mixed media and other projects other than painting.


In my late teens, young adult time, I found a bunch of canvases, the good, stretched canvases on a fantastic sale and bought about a half dozen.

They lay untouched for 5 or 6 years, along with all my brushes, paints, palette knives and so forth.

Five or six years!

What stopped me from painting?

The canvasses were expensive, at least, to replace them would be, and I was afraid that I’d paint something that wasn’t “good” and thereby “ruin” them.

Somewhere along the path of learning art, I’d also absorbed value judgments for art.

What a minute, Anna, are you saying there’s no such thing as good and bad art?

Well, sort of.  Art can be misused just like all sorts of other things intended for good can be misused.  I guess what I want to say is there’s no such thing as a good or bad type of art.  Nor is there art intended for a good reason that one could say is “bad.”  (See, my art is all awesome! :-) I declare it so).

Plus, when we use these terms “bad” art and “good” art, we’re usually referring to some level of skill that we perceive as good or bad, or, and most often I think, when we don’t like something, we call it “bad.”

Of course, Picasso was viewed as “bad” by his contemporaries.

See somewhere along the line, we’ve gotten the idea that art is something that can be judged as skilled or un-skilled and therefore “worthy” or “unworthy” as opposed to seeing art for what it truly is…

…the conversation of the soul.

The pictures in this post are some thoughts from my soul.  #1 is the first painting I tried when I finally decided that I either needed to risk “ruining” my canvasses or give away my art supplies.  #2 is the second take on abstract flowers.  #3 we fast forward a couple of years to my response to and desire to have some memorial to a miscarried pregnancy.  And #4 is still sitting on my easel.  I can’t decide whether or not it’s done.

What about you? Where do you express creativity?

Where are you afraid to express your creativity?  What’s your blank canvas that you’re afraid to “ruin”?

If, “art is the conversation of the soul” (quoth ME!), what’s your soul saying?

Want the t-shirt?  Okay, so today’s post inspired a tee shirt.  Available on both men’s and women’s tees, kid’s tees and even onesies!

10 Things I Hate Love about You Me

Okay folks, since I’m blogging in my formal bathrobe today I’m going to write a list post and sort of give you a feel for where this blog is going. (don’t worry, tomorrow I’ll be back in the old ratty plaid one where I post things about what I eat and which teeth I picked after).

And you get a second post today because my driveway looks like this and I can’t go out!

See, as much as I love the random posts, which if you know me, random is one of the highest compliments you can get from me (As in “That was randomly cool!”), I’m on this journey-thing through this different space and I’m exploring somethings that are entirely new and some other things that I’d thought about but never had a chance to explore.

What’s that? You want to know what things I’m talking about?

Hold your puppies folks, I’m getting there.

*Note: to all of you who start looking at the below list and think it’s boring then you must also enjoy living fragmented, disillusioned, and frankly depressing lives. If however, you have any desire to learn to live holistically and live life to the full you will not only read my blog every day, but also invite all your friends. (and to those of you who are about to write me admonishing comments, by all means, do! I’ll take comments however I can get them. But first, google snarky, go ahead, it’s word 😉 )

Where was I? Oh yes, the list.

Dun dun dun.

1. (or should I start with 10? Drat that Letterman, I never know now…) Well if I was going from 10 to 1 with 1 being the sort of climax then 1 would be randomness (see above). These entries are likely to contain pictures of what I ate, what my cats ate (and what they dragged in), but never will you find an apology for my gratuitous use of parenthesis (I like parenthesis, it’s like hiding little secrets in the sentence for everyone to see :-) )

2. (or 9, if you insist). Total well-being.
Okay so, big topic, and in some ways a couple of the following topics could be viewed as sort of sub-topics to this one, yeah, I’m bad at lists (I don’t write outlines for papers either).

The world Shalom in Hebrew is usually interpreted as peace, which is a correct definition, but as I’ve come to understand it thanks to my friend Alli and, of course, my insanely intelligent Mom (who reads like 5 ancient near eastern languages including biblical Hebrew. I’d ask her to blog, but I’m never sure what language will come out), it has more of a connotation of total well-being. So when us Anglican/Episcopalian folk pass the peace and say “The Peace of the Lord be always with you” (and also with you… reflex response), we’re wishing God’s Shalom for the folks in the pews around us, and ultimately the world. (Don’t worry, you non-Anglican’s have equally valid ways of wishing peace, I’m very ecumenical 😉 )

Okay, that’s all well and good, but what does it mean in our everyday lives? Well, that’s where the next couple come in, and it’s a good thing, cause this was a long number 2 (9).

3. (8). Daily Expressions of Spirituality.
A lot of us protestants are familiar with the “quiet time” concept. I’m hoping to figure out meaningful ways to spend time with God in quiet and not so quiet ways this year. Sort of beyond the quiet time. I’ll let you know how it goes.

4. (7.) Exercise, fitness, and physical health.
There are more stories to tell in this category about the battles I’ve fought all through my mid to late twenties in this area. At 29, I had the choice to become depressed that I’d been sick or in not ideal heath for what should have been the physically fittest time of my life, or decide that my 30’s were going to be awesome in this department. So far, so good (I did just turn 30 in September, but I’m doing great, and I’ll share more of that journey in this category).

I’ve found some great ways to exercise at home, and some free resources that are helping me do that, and I’ll pass them along from time to time.

5. (6). Green living and local eating.
We’ve been slowly but surely greening the way we live (and we painted our dining room green! well, sort of olive-y, but still). We recycle, compost, are members of a CSA, and have really greened the way we clean, and as I continue making discoveries in this area, I’ll be talking about them (yes, I’ll be talking, surprise, I know).

6. (5). Gardening and preserving.
We planted an herb garden this past spring to go along with our CSA and this year we’ll be adding (hopefully!) a few more beds, which should give us enough food to start preserving some of it so our other half of the year can be more local too!

7. (4). Cooking.
I’ll lay odds, you’d already figured that one out 😉 Husband and I both love to cook, so I’ll be posting occasional pics and recipes from time to time. Neither of us can leave a recipe alone, so we’ll bring you along on our culinary adventures (and for those of you in the Nashville area, we might even have you over for dinner! but you’ll have to be willing to be blogged. No such thing as a free meal you know).

8. (3). Birdie!

Oh, huh?

9. (2). Art.
Well, this is the Wayfaring Artist after all. I’m primarily a photographer, but I also paint with acrylics, and do different things with mixed media as the mood strikes me. I also sew, but more for artistic purposes then say, clothes. I dabble in graphic design and web-page layout as well as interior decorating (I love to move furniture around!)

10. (1). …

…whistles…

what? I’m ADD, didn’t you know?

11. (0). (the zero means this one doesn’t count against my list of ten! numbers aren’t my strong point). Living in Community. I don’t even know exactly what I mean by this yet, but if you want to drop by and chat a while, maybe we’ll figure it out together.

Epiphany! Epiphany!

I’ve had an epiphany! Well, actually everyone can have this one… Today, January 6th, is Epiphany on the church calendar, and I finally get to move my wise guys (er, wise men) to the manger so they can present their gifts. They’ve been hanging out on the opposite end of my mantle all Advent and Christmas.

See how far away they are?

Oh look! They’re halfway there!  That poor wiseman in front seems to be making the journey on his knees! now that’s dedication.

Everyone’s together… though Mary’s very tired of kneeling waiting for the wisemen, and the shepherd’s thinking that sheep on his shoulders is getting really heavy right about now…

I love Epiphany, and I have heard our new church celebrates with a traditional English Christmas Dinner following the service.

Tonight’s a special service too because it marks the official beginning of St. Francis and St. Joseph’s joining together. Sort of like a marriage of churches is taking place tonight. And then, yummy food! I’m excited :-)

An epiphany is also what I’m seeking this year as I move fully into this in-between time. Even though my big transition became official in June, it’s taken me until now to sort of adjust to being in this place, and then try to start seeing what this space is for (for more on the transition, read my newly completed about page).

So today marks the official beginning of a year of something different, a year of being okay with not being in vocational ministry, a year of hopefully coming to a better understanding of my calling, and where I go from here. A year of just being, and just being me, with the only expectations being that I live up to my advertisement and take good portraits of people :-) so far, so good. A year of getting to know the new members of our congregation, and them getting to know me (watch out St. Joe’s! I’m not your normal pastor’s wife. I’m giving you fair notice 😉 )

A year of building the new friendships that have finally emerged for me after the move to Nashville, and a year of getting to spend more time hanging and chatting with the old friends that are so dear to me.

And after this year, who knows? But I’m excited. I hope you’ll come along for the ride, companions and conversation partners in this new journey.

Now, I’m hungry… lunch for me!