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birdback

With both hands, I cup the body of Mama Bird with her cracked, broken wings, and apply gentle pressure.  Kneading and smoothing.  Adding and taking away.  These wings, each lovingly shaped and adorned with small flowers, sat for a few weeks too long, wrapped in wet rags and sitting in a black garbage bag.   When I finally get around to attaching them to  Mama Bird’s body, the wings have started to dry and crack into pieces as I lift them from their solitary perches.  Wings left unused become frail and brittle.

Sensing the panic welling up inside me, my art teacher declares,  “You need to pop those suckers on soon and work from there!  There’s no way to do it gently.”  It is the end of class, so I pack-up the pieces and parts of my bird, once again, in wet rags and lug them home with me so that I can do some emergency repair work.   When I unwrap the clay that next morning, I feel a sense of reverence.  I aim to make this bird whole again.  I can’t help but think, as I hold these broken wings in my hands, that this must be how God feels when He cradles our broken spirits.

The molding process?  It can hurt and it might last longer than we would like.  In the case of Mama Bird, with some work, I am able to put her back together, all in one piece, but her transformation is still not over.  We have glazing issues, where for some odd reason, the “feather white” glaze that I have so carefully chosen, chips-off in tiny pieces when we remove her from the kiln.  Even with repeated glazing and firing at higher temperatures, Mama Bird’s glaze continues to flake-off in places.  For some reason, though, I am okay with it.  Her “shabby chic” exterior speaks to me.  The bare clay peeking through is evidence of Mama Bird’s journey.  Scars of a warrior.

Early on, I had decided to keep the hole open in Mama Bird’s chest where I hollowed her for firing.

birdfront (2)
I imagine a huge spray of colorful flowers flowing from that hollow, spilling forth with beauty.  The tiny little flowers that I fashioned from vintage fabric and wire sit patiently in a block of green foam while Mama Bird undergoes her many transformations.  Now it is time to fill that hollow space.  After playing with flower arrangements and securing the wires with a final dose of resin, I step back from Mama Bird and take a look.  There is still something missing. This mama bird is a warrior.  She needs a crown.

WarriorMamaBird1

To all my fellow warrior mamas out there, I want you to know that it is never too late to repair your wings.  We make mistakes.  We suffer losses and heartaches.  We may even feel so broken that we cannot fly again.  But God, the Master Artist?  He specializes in crafting beauty from our brokenness.

 

 

 

Shedances3
You are a beautiful creation, perfectly imperfect!

-Steve Maraboli

beyoutiful

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines.  She was beautiful, for the way she thought.  She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved.  She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad.  No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks.  She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Iam..

I am…

A seeker of beauty.

A kindred spirit.

A lifelong companion.

A lover.

A giver of life.

A sculptor of young souls.

A crafter of words.

A creator.

I am an artist.

I am a warm mug of tea.

A gurgling stream.

A wildflower meadow.

A countryside cottage.

I am a sanctuary.

I am well-worn jeans.

A cozy sweater.

A crazy quilt.

A lovingly wrapped package.

A dandelion orb.

I am a gentle breeze.

I am vintage charm.

Texture.

Grace.

Quietness.

Strength.

I am handmade by God.

With my face behind the lens of the camera, I capture my boy and girl pretending to be grasshoppers along the surf’s edge and catch a glimpse of my own reflection in the camera’s screen. I try not to be bothered when I see the loose skin on my neck staring back at me.  But, really?  Am I getting a double chin?

Something about putting on a bathing suit every day for a week, paired with no make-up and disheveled, air-dried hair causes me to focus on all my bodily imperfections:  the spider veins making their webs across my legs, the uneven skin tones, the jiggly skin along the backs of my arms.  When I mention my increasing awareness of this aging body to my husband, he jokingly asks me if I am having a mid-life crisis.  “Maybe, just a little one, ” I tell him.

I remember, as a teenager and on into my twenties, feeling self-conscious about my stick-like figure, my fair skin, and the freckles scattered over my face when exposed to the sun.  And now, 20+ years later, the stretchy flesh across my belly bares evidence of two pregnancies and gravity shifts any extra weight down to my hips.  My sister and I walk companionably along the beach and I notice other women sporting their own aging bodies. I wonder if they, too, hone in on the youth wearing bikinis and golden tans.

In my own humanness, I  find myself mourning the gradual loss of my youthful body in the years to come.  I am reminded, though, in 1 Peter 3:4, that “beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet, spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  I want to be one of those women who ages gracefully.  One who makes the most of what she has to work with on the outside, but also carries herself with confidence, knowing that an inner spirit of godliness dwells within.

I don’t think God minds if I continue to search for clothes that flatter my changing shape and use beauty aids to smooth out my skin  and add a little color to my face.  At the same time, though, He offers me the true source of unfading beauty.  May I always remember to focus on the ultimate beauty product.  God Himself.

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