Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dreams and Purpose

I have written a series of children's stories. The stories are sweet stories about the friendship between a little dog and a boat captain. Why on earth I decided to do the illustrations, I don't know, but it is my goal, my dream. Just today I heard something that struck me, "Your dreams are a part of your purpose." So, is this my purpose? Maybe for now it is.
Last year I received a card from the Art Institute of Chicago that listed the classes they would be offering for the summer. To my surprise, they were offering a class on Children's Book Illustration. Just what I had been looking for, so I signed up. It was a bit of a disaster for me. The first day of the class, everyone introduced themselves and talked about their experience and education. I was immediately intimadated and from that moment on, I couldn't draw. I tried and tried and everything I did was horrible. In that class I met a wonderful woman, an artist, and she told me that she was going to have a class at Lurie Gardens in Millineum Park. Here I was, unable to draw and yet I agreed to sign up for the class. Throughout the 4 weeks of the class, I struggled. She then told me that I could take an extention at the Botanical Gardens. Once again, I agreed, while all along I was thinking that I must be crazy. Thankfully, I took the extention because it was then that I had a break through. We were in the greenhouse on a rainy day and I decided to draw the elephant ear leaves in the picture above. I drew, I erased, I drew, I erased, on and on. Michele came by to check on me, looked down and saw my empty paper. I immediately told her that I had been drawing, but I had also been erasing. She sat down and worked through a quick sketch. When I saw what she drew, I thought, "that's what I have been erasing!" She left me to work and when she returned, she couldn't believe what I had done. I too was so proud. The above photo of my drawing is my finished piece. I am so proud.
What I came to realize was that I was dealing with something that has haunted me since I was in the 4th grade. We had just moved to Waynesboro, MS. The school had an art competition. The piece I did was fine, but I didn't think it was all that good. To my surprise, I won 3rd place. My parents were so proud. The following year there was another competition which I also entered. That year I decided to try something a little different. It didn't turn out all that well, but I tried. Needless to say, I didn't receive an award. When my parents saw my piece, they told me that I had embarrassed them. I was devastated. I stopped drawing.
Now here is what is really interesting, my father is an incredible artist. He could have helped me, but what he chose to do was break my spirit.
Why this all came up for me at this point in my life, I don't know. As much as I have struggled over the past nine months, I have to admit that in the end I am so very glad that I have persevered. The end product has been worth the struggle. I am now working on the illustrations for my first story. I'm still struggling, but each drawing is a little easier.
I keep journals where I write down whatever has meaning to me. I may read something in a magazine, see something on a billboard or even overhear something someone says. If it is something that speaks to me, I jot it down on a scrap of paper and then later put it in one of my journals where I can refer back to it as often as I like. There's a saying that I think is rather fitting for what I have just written,
If you no longer have dreams, you no longer have a life.
I want to dream for as long as I can.

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

All God's Children

This past week I had a wonderful couple of days. On Monday I left Midway and flew down to Joliet where I picked up a beautiful bird dog, Sassy. She had been in the Chicago area receiving medical treatment. From Joliet, Sassy and I flew down to Springfield, IL where she would be able to finish her meds and do some physical therapy and hopefully get ready to be adopted. Such a beautiful dog.
Some very good friends live near Springfield and I am the Godmother to their youngest child. They had time in their schedule to host me for the evening, so I stayed overnight. It was such a delight to spend time with the family.
During the afternoon, we went out and picked fresh aspharagus to have with our dinner. It was incredible. I've never tasted anything so good. Dinner was such fun. I enjoyed listening to the boys as they told about their day at school. Their oldest son invited me to come along to his choir practice at church later that evening. I think children's voices are like the sound of angels. After choir practice, we all went for an evening walk. Everyone talked and shared. After we returned home, I was ready for bed. As soon as I hit the pillow, I was out.
The next morning I got in the plane and flew down to Springfield, MO. It was a beautiful flight, smooth,bright blue skies. When I landed the winds were gusty, but I wasn't worried as the flight there had been so smooth. In Missouri I picked up 6 puppies that needed to go to Appleton, WI. They were just so sweet.
As usual, I wanted all of them. Within 45 minutes, the puppies were loaded, I had fuel and was ready to go. On my climb out the turbulance was horrible, but I wasn't worried as it had been such a smooth flight down. So I climbed, and climbed, no relief. I bounced all the was back to Gary. I've never had a flight quite like this one. It was a matter of just holding on. I am always very diligent about knowing where I am on the charts at any given time, but that day, I just prayed that the GPS would not fail as I didn't want to let go of the yoke to look at my charts. The only thing that I did manage to do was put in the VORs along the way. So at least I had a little back up in case the GPS did go out. The minutes seemed like hours, but finally I was able to get the information for Gary. The winds were very strong and very gusty. Gary was landing runway 20 and the winds were moving from 180 to 250, not directly down the runway. After 3 1/2 hours of bouncing all over the sky, I was so very tired. At that point I said a prayer and asked for a favor, please let the wind be down the runway when I land. I was cleared to land and as I was turning base to final, the controller said that the winds were 200 at 26 gusting to 32. My prayer was answered, the wind was right down the runway. I said a very big "Thank You Lord!!" and landed with ease.
As I pulled up to the Jet Center, the pilot that was meeting me to take the puppies on to Appleton came running out. He had been so worried about me. His first question was, "How are you?" My answer, "I'm tired." He said, "I'm sure you are, you've been kicked for the last 3 1/2 hours."
The puppies had done everything in the cages, peed, pooped and thrown up. I don't blame them, I felt like doing the same thing! Dennis, one of the line guys at Gary brought out some plastic gloves so that we could transfer the puppies. Warren, the pilot who was taking them on to Appleton said that he was flying back to Kenosha and then putting them in the car and driving to Appleton. He called at 7:15 that evening and said that they had made it and all was well. But, my day wasn't over yet as I still had to go to Midway. The winds were every bit as strong there, but were only one degree off the runway heading. No problem.
I have a Harry Chapin CD where he talks about being tired and being good and tired. The days that we are tired are the days that we have spent fulfilling someone else's dream. The days that we are good and tired are the days that we spend fulfilling our own dreams. This was a good and tired day. Yes, I was exhausted, but I had spent my day doing something I love doing, I had made a difference in the lives of some of God's most precious creatures. It's on days like this that I get to be an angel. How could I ask for more?

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This