The Talking We Do

From time to time.

The years passing….

                While walking along the lake, talking, we noticed some interesting aspects of all around us.  Looking up, I usually notice that what I or we’re seeing is for the first time.  In other words, noticing cloud formations, or even looking down at ants creating nests, each time, for the first time.  And that’s life:  each and every day.  And even the terms I’m using have constructs to each his/her own.

                A blogger discussed labels we make.  To some degree, I think that’s natural, but to another degree, it’s a learned behavior, and living in a society, we notice commonalities of behavior depending upon where people live.  In other words, to be truly seeing, understanding each day as if for the first time, to understand, and to wait before making any judgements or observations save what we do notice and understand.

                I’m writing this in part because I’ve noticed some people I’ve known throughout the years (friends, family, and so forth) see me, and others, from their perspective, which may be correct (at times), but something we notice.  Like walking into a label factory.  Which to me, prevents real communication.  Which then begs the question whether real communication is to be found. 

                We’ll ponder upon this some more and return to this article.  I’ve noticed, while painting, memories and ideas seem to pass with clarity, but also sometimes putting two and two together.

                Let me use one example to illustrate.  Someone I know, have known (friend or relative, or both), says things and makes assertions that are not completely true, and I’ve asked myself “why?”  For instance, as he’s/she’s been on psychiatric medication for half of her/his life, the idea has been suggested that everyone should be on some kind of psychiatric medication.  I can only imagine a kind of “influence,” but also to “support” the normalcy of taking such pills, which I would suggest is not.

                There was also the time I wrote about where, while I was sitting in Starbucks, listened to one person “guiding” the other three in topics I realized were filled with holes, though I would not interfere in others’ talks.  However, I noticed, when the “main” person walked away, one of the three lackeys continued talking as if they understood and were leading the others.  That person got “brownie buttons” from the main character upon returning. 

                There’s one more example, but looking back, I have seen it time and again.  I’ve even seen people transmogrify right before my eyes.  One moment, they were clear, the next, they tied themselves to propaganda as if it were the most natural thing.  I had to ponder:  where is the honest discussion?  And as such, I understand a kind of labelling will occur.  The labels will be used for those who agree and those who don’t agree.   And all too many people will eventually succumb, for they’re desperate to be on the “in crowd,” and not feel insecurity in not belonging.  However, not belonging is where people should exist.  In other words, to be a part of a world that thinks for themselves, refusing to succumb to “group think,” but hold to understanding and principles.  Perhaps, part of that entails turning off the television, computer, and selecting friends we don’t “need” too much.  Always ready to discuss, disagree, and examine ideas and such.  

Prayers. 

Around the Trees and Along the River

                With the passing weeks, having worked with stepping stones onto canvas, painting scenes and learning along the way the dalliance of light and color, but also the nuances of content, also considering portraits…  A friend of ours shared a painting done years ago of a man in thoughtful contemplation.  Whether we should ever meet this person, it seems she captured within the frame a peaceful and compassionate nature.  And that reminded.

                Some time back, decades ago, I learned a systematic way of placing pictures, photographs, and other sources as portraits, even scenes and still life, one framed table setting before my family’s dining room.  Then, with time, by fortune and observation, I started utilizing a quick method of placing on paper, canvas, or otherwise.  The benefit of this, in regards to people, was to be less concerned with perfect “copies” of portraits, but more to “capture” the personality and perhaps momentary thoughtfulness.  There is something in the lines, but more in what is communicated through the eyes and features, that tell a story simple straightforward renderings might not share. Some boardwalk artists understand and share with the public.

                With the more recent scenes (i.e. camp sites, gardens, riversides, and so forth, some with homes or cabins, others simply natural), I find that while the pictures are beautiful in themselves, when I turn them into my own paintings, something is communicated that is different from them, but is common to me.  That last a friend shared.  She noticed.  And I find myself, at times, just looking. 

                For now, I plan on additional scenes, some ideas arriving as we walk along the nearby lake, talking about the birds, clouds, trees, and all the rest.  However, I seem to be moving towards portraits.  However, I know, something of the person will have to be there.  Yes, ideas of family, friends, but also personalities in history past.  And there’s something to be considered….

                Whether we look at pictures of say… George Washington, Margaret Thatcher, or even Socrates.  I suppose, I would like to paint a picture of the latter.  But here’s the thing.  Having read books about him, and discussed with others, and here we’re also thinking about Anatoly Sharansky among others, I would hope (and I think it’s unavoidable) something of how I “see” the man is in the painting.  And I suppose, like the scenes, that might be what I find myself looking at from time to time.   

                Someone of a thoughtful personality, who saw things with simplicity, not given to media or films, appreciated things in ways I may never fully understand.  This reminded me.  To look without the “coloration” of what others say or do.   In other words, though we might be “persuaded” to see in certain tints and colors, we also looks with “new eyes,” so to speak.  As such, each day is a new day.   

With photography, something I worked at years ago, but now peruse with online pictures, mostly nature and historical sites, I see both the pictures, but also looking through their eyes, for what and how they see. In this, I work towards, without effort for the most part, to impart how I see, but also something I’m not fully aware, which is part of the enjoyment. Perhaps, we can encourage, as we do in our neighborhood, for people to find their venue.

**Something occurred to me as I was about to turn off the computer, related to the topic. It’s also something hard to explain, but also might be worth the moment. It’s liking things and people, or not liking things and people, but not from an original perspective, one honest and without outside persuasion. In other words, seeing and understanding. Yet, we see a world of people who often don’t think for themselves, have likes and dislikes, and don’t know why except by something running through them like a recorder or tape. With such people, some move away, run away, or get angry if asked to share why they think as they do. It’s a tell. But I have considered it’s something not original to that person, and “a bit of their world” got inside them, making them think ideas not really their own, and certainly not from pondering. In this, to some degree, many or most of us, if not all or entirely so, sometimes see, but not with original eyes, persuaded in ways we’ve never considered.

**To be honest and pondering. Prayers.

***One more thing, and this is a day or so later. The more I watch films (We tend to pick one every other day or such.), noticing the years in making, the more we’ve seen the corelation between media, films, and people, which then also explains so much how people behave in such predictable manners, and how so many people seem to be arriving at ideas, yet never really pondering except in group think. I’ve wondered if some people have great difficulties, for they can only be completely honest, as a couple friends from college, and they always remain true to themselves. One uncle said it well. You always know what’s right inside if you listen.

Walking Along the Lake

                There’s much I could write regarding the following article, but I think I would find myself taking many detours, though all would be working together from one perspective, however, the appearance of distracted thinking by trying to say too much in one writing.  We’ll try it this way:

                Some readers might remember, and many have experienced this themselves, that sometimes questions are answered a long time later, sometimes decades.  Today, I was looking at something, which I’ve alluded to before, but perhaps now with a little more clarity.

                I was thinking of my family, extended family, friends from early to now, and much of the readings in more recent years.  Also, I was talking with some friends, and the subject in various ways were a part of the discussions.

                When I was much younger, perhaps even before my teenage years, I remember waking up from an afternoon nap and thinking “nothing means nothing.”  At that time, it was a very troubling thought and I didn’t know what to make of it.  And like most of my peers, we just went on with our lives, as once out of the house there’s a whole world to engage.  I still don’t know what to make of those thoughts so many years ago, but I have pondered upon it a few times over the decades.

                In recent years, like some I know, I’ve radically changed what I will watch, read, or discuss.  I have my reasons.  And one part I’ll share shortly.  However, while reading a book (I’m rereading a Louis L’Amour sea adventure tale of long ago years.), I paused and looked about.  I was thinking about the reasons people do things: past and present.  I was considering how people think and how all too many are reactionary and led.  I was thinking about similarities of expressions and how people often can be grouped by the times they lived. I pondered upon how films and media influenced whole generational thinking (i.e. Look at the roaring 20s.).  I was also considering how…  well, enough of that. Each person has their own reflections.

                However, in thinking about the above, what occurred to me was nothing we do, read, say, or work towards means anything without God.  As I’ve pondered upon this from time to time, more so in recent years, I’ve arrived at that conclusion more and more.  Even understanding makes no sense to me unless it’s a gift, for I believe the realization is not of our own making but from above.  The light shining in our minds.  *Some may remember the story when my car was stuck in mud, and upon praying a second time, a tiny light shined in my mind, just for an instance, but shared all the instructions on how to get my car out of the mud (I had driven a rear-wheel drive car several hundred yards into deep mud with hills on both sides so I had to put the car in reverse to get free.).  I have never forgotten that day. 

                But I’ve asked the questions.  Why do this or that?  Among other questions.  And the answer echoed was the only reason for anything is that we were created.  And not for ourselves alone. 

                Now, I want to share something.  While I was thinking, during this time, that nothing means anything unless all leads to our Father in heaven, I did remember that experience in my youth when I woke up from a nap.  However, I must also say that I have not seen a connection.  Meaning, I don’t know if that experience in my youth occurred for the same reasons.  So, I’ll ponder upon that but not be in a hurry.  For if I “answer” the question before the answer becomes self-evident, then I might believe something that isn’t what I decide.  I can’t decide.  It has to be of itself.  But I wonder. 

                I have considered that while growing up, I was (like all of my peers and family) surrounded by the messaging, media, and social thinking of those times.  And I wonder if there was a schism of sort.  In other words, living by ideas and beliefs not arrived at by common sense and thoughtful pondering.  Like living a life not in concert or harmony with what is true and real, but also thoughtful. For it seems to me that what we do and say is motivated or purposeful, and I question the motivation.

                I looked at the programming available on our television.  I thought:  wall to wall garbage.  95% or more.  All designed to circumvent any consideration of thoughtful and reflective ideas that raise our awareness and cause us to think about the more important aspects of life.  And something else.

                I notice the less I watch, or am more selective, and painting has been very interesting and challenging, reading books of more thoughtful subjects….  And Thomas Kinkade.  What wonderful pictures.  They do make people ponder. 

                Here’s one aspect.  What we give our attention to, to varying degrees depending upon each person, gets inside our heads, and to varying degrees, becomes part of our programming.  I would imagine that works with computers, music, the radio, and who we spend the hours with daily.  One only needs to listen, observe, and ponder to see the reality of this statement.

                To close this article for now, I would only add that all too many people, as I’ve shared in the past, don’t really think for themselves.  One does not need the television (We only had 4 stations growing up, never listened to the radio, and we were just fine.), computer, Smart phone, or distractive talk to escape, for what is one escaping from?  I think some of the happiest people I’ve ever known, and know, are completely happy in their own skin, yet social in a very healthy way.  Time and tide.

  

                A neighbor friend came by today, while I was cleaning one vehicle’s upholstery, and we got to talking about the times we live.   He is very observant.  He shared how in the times we live, the media and political elements are working hard to present good as bad and bad as good.  He gave a small example of people wearing skeletons and skulls, even on their cars, among other pictures and words. We discussed some shows as well.  He also explained how all so many are working towards separating us from what is truly important, separating us from what we know is right in our hearts.

                In varying degrees, some things are subtle.  But thankfully, we still see much.  For instance, what would have caused people to scream, write to their politicians and stand on their doorsteps, and certainly would have had our founding fathers heading another revolution, we hear so little.  If what is happening in schools today occurred in my parents’ years, their parents would have taken them out and stormed the buildings, closing those schools. People don’t realize, or don’t see a way out these days, and simply remain quiet, talk but know they can do nothing (so they think), and go along to get along. 

                I’ll try it this way, for a minute, giving one example.  I’ve said this before.  Every man was born a boy, and a man he will always be.  Every woman was born a girl, and a woman she will always be.  A marriage is between one good man and one good woman, and trusting in God, they have a family, protecting the children, but also guiding them to becoming responsible adults.  In all things, there is a right and wrong. 

                But I shared it this way.  Many things are subtle, but only if we close our eyes.  And of course, once many get used to looking the other way, they don’t realize, but they’re becoming part of the problem.  Even in saying nothing or following the line of going along to get along.  I think that’s what some mean when they say they see sheep.  The blind following the blind.  Over the cliff.  Without ever realizing it. **Yet, they did realize early on.

                Okay, this is in no way meant to be a negative article.  Far be it so.  But to paint a clear picture, support what many already know inside, and be responsible for their own actions.  Then, by example, encouraging others. But there’s something more. I wonder if that difficulty I had as a child/teen came about because I was following ideas not real but promoted and perhaps, my mind wanted the real.

**Prayers.  We cannot of ourselves do anything. 

No Mo Smart Phone

                This might be short, but one never knows.   Times are far different then when we were growing up, and I imagine, they were very different from our grandparents’ times.  However, with some reading, watching older movies, I’ve noticed some commonalities.  Here’s one observation, but I think it’s always been, yet ramped up with all the electronics media and purchases, which to a very great degree, hasn’t changed things in the way many people would consider.

                We think.  We all think.  But far too many don’t think for themselves.  They think with the words and ideas of what they surround themselves.  And they support with those around them.

                Here’s a consideration I had the other day.  It was just a thought.  I shared with a friend what if we lived in a remote town, somewhere some consider off the grid so to speak, and we had one television in a common place, one computer or laptop in a common place, and each with a simple Tracfone, which we each keep in our car’s glove box.  A landline sits in the house, but no recorder.   We only use the computer to check emails (once a week) or get medical information if necessary.

                In other words, we live without technology, save lights, heating, and our cars, for the most part. 

                And when a question occurs, we don’t run to the computer.  We don’t instantly open our Smart Phones to check.  We actually consider.  We might even ponder.  And we’re not in a hurry to find the answer unless It’s absolutely necessary, like a leaking roof or a car that will not run.  And even in that, we do the checks ourselves, the work ourselves, and only seek a mechanic when all else brings no solutions. 

                In this way, we’re thinking for ourselves.  We’re allowing time and purpose to bring about answers without hurrying for others to do our thinking.  However, when we do research on the computer, or talk with someone on the phone, it’s after we’ve brought forth all the information we discovered and learned on our own, such that, whomever hears our questions also senses we really know what we’re talking about.

                For weeks now, as some know, I’ve been painting.  I’ve kind of transitioned from stepping stones to canvas (though I have a couple ideas for stepping stones I want to try out), and from animals to scenes, and more recently from the more artistic scenes to actual photographs.  We’re considering pictures of people, and I was thinking Thomas Jefferson.  Time will tell.  I sometimes never know what I’ll paint until that day. 

                I’ve noticed the styles some artists use.  I always find my own path of discovery, but am mindful of others.  And along the way, painting after painting, hours and hours of enjoyment, wonder, and discovery, little “ah haaa” moments.  Little noticing.

                I could go and find out from others what they do.  Perhaps from time to time, I read a little.  But I also enjoy to hours, even days passing, and one day thinking (The light bulb goes on.):  Hey, let’s try that.  I’ve tossed out a couple paintings that didn’t work, but it’s always when the effort wasn’t honest.  Like trying too hard.  Sometimes, a painting will work out in ways one never thought at the start.

                Here’s the thing.  Every generation thinks they have the next great ideas.  The media has a lot to do with that.  Think of the Roman Empire and others.  Everyone, in a distracted purpose, thinks they’re on the edge of something wonderful.  Something new.  Something evolutionary.  Yet, we’re always the same, though if only we pondered and thought for ourselves:  honestly.  Some do.  Perhaps, in these days and ages, more are realizing. 

**Yes, I only use the computer two hours max per week, and sometimes not. Tossed the Smart Phone for a $20 Tracfone sitting in the glove compartment. Love reading books.

The Walk and Noticing

What we were thinking, then turning the corner, walking where we never considered.

                There are a couple thoughts here, which I haven’t fully understood, but also looking to tie them together in a way that is honest and real.  Hmmm….  One was from an observation over time, the other more recent as I read another’s blog.  Let’s see….

                While working with stepping stones and canvas, more the latter of recent, I’ve enjoyed (and become more observant) the interaction of light and color.  Quite amazing.  But I’ve also noticed looking at what other artists have shared, seeing how they arrived at pictures, and while walking about, often at the lake, observing the trees, animals, and other aspects, always including the clouds, I’ve seen pictures in life that I hadn’t noticed as much before. 

                The thought came, as it has before, to experiment with chiseling:  sculpture.   I’ve dabbled with clay, but I’ve wondered what getting a block of granite or marble, then setting to the task.  Of course, then a subject matter, such as a person’s face, an animal, perhaps something simple.  I suppose, I would have to both take pictures of what I was considering, from all the angles, then sketch each one for familiarity prior to the first strike with a hammer.  Perhaps make a couple clay sculptures first. For what is in the stone will then appear days later. 

                **A little aside here:  Sometimes, while drawing or painting, the picture does not always “match” what was first intended, yet seems to have qualities to observe, ponder, and brings a smile.  I suppose, even a sculpture might have aspects unintended.  I wonder if sometimes we don’t see what will be as we are not fully aware.    

                The second thing I was pondering was about what a writer shared.  It included the honesty of others, their points of view, and so forth, perhaps also considering both the honesty and compassion of others.  In this case, I believe the writer was in angst over the quandry of the human condition. For myself, I thought of the uncertainties, but also good times.

                For this, I stopped.  Can I expect something from others that isn’t always in myself?  In other words, if we’re really looking, we can also see a host of mistakes in ourselves.  If every thought we ever had was written in a bubble above our heads (Yes, like comics.), would we dare leave the house?  There was this movie, where in order for two people to operate a tremendously large robot, they had to be in sync.  In other words, their minds would be completely open to one another.  Would any person attempt such a thing?  If they truly saw themselves?  Oh, it sounds pretty cool on the screen, but in real life?  All pages open?  Every possible corner and nook open for all to see? 

                Like that stone to be chiseled, one would not know the statue or 3-D picture prior to the one using the hammer, perhaps days later.  And like the colors of paintings, one can look, as at the sky, and see wonders, pondering.  I’m continuously amazed at the interplay of clouds and light.             

                And I would suggest, as Paul wrote in some of his letters, that we don’t even truly know ourselves.  I remember a couple of times, or more, when someone told me I’m a good person.  Then I remembered the bible, what was written there, but also considering times and tide. 

                I explained to others that it is written that we don’t fully know ourselves.  Also, we read, only God is good.  He Who made us.  And to me, that is the hope.  For by myself, I could never do anything.  However, when we do some things cool, like paintings, or another a successful business, I believe the author is the one who made me, giving us ideas and abilities. We are thankful.

To See and Perceive

Often, I’ve wondered if we see with a lens placed before. What is real and what is presupposed?

From “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

                There is something we see when looking at others.  And some things words may not discover.  I can still remember:  from my youth, a few times upon waking up, “seeing” something I’ve never been able to describe, and for this, we’ll leave out.  A perception?  Maybe.  However, whatever it was/is, I was left with a pondering.  Even to myself, I find I don’t fully understand.  And that has been written in various places.

                Today, I went down to get a vehicle smogged.  While there, I met a friend, then sat as others came and went, waiting for my turn.  Another fellow, sitting across the way, also waiting, and somehow, we got into talking about careers and such. 

                As always, when talking with people, I really do listen.  For today, this is what I noticed among several.  Uncertainty.  Reactions.  A personification, or attempt to put out there an idea of what people hope will be perceived.  Fitting in.  And more.  But I also saw common behaviors as if people learn to be in the society they’re in. Of recent, I seem to see people like they’ve come off the assembly line. The look in their eyes is a pondering.

                I really liked the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” but perhaps not for the same reasons many do.  I liked the movie itself, but also the idea of a person taking chances, getting out of the old mold, and trying to be a part of this world.  Ben Stiller often does a great job, and the cast was well-chosen. 

                But I want to make as clear as possible, I don’t believe people have to go here, there, or do this or that, because of messaging.  In fact, I’ve wondered how many people live lives of quiet desperation because they’ve believed messaging throughout their lives, even from very early on, the ideas all around, even in the people of the same home.  How many are trying to “find themselves,” or “rediscover,” when the trails are heading in the wrong directions.  As my father once said, wherever you go, there you are.  A couple people I know are the same before, now, later, here, there, or wherever, never looking to be anything, and are responsible.

                The “happiest” people I know are simple and down to Earth.  Not that they’re trying to be simple and down to Earth.  I think they’ve never been inclined to chase anything, to compensate for ideas of worth, or to seek adventure other than what is true for them.  If they take pictures, they truly enjoy photography, but just as soon might bake or read a book.  They always seem in the present. 

                **I know some of my articles may seem to leave out some information, but that’s done with a purpose, for I truly believe each person must find their own answers, but also be okay with not knowing everything.  Recently, an acquaintance, possibly friend, said something within a group of us at a function.  It was thoughtful and humorous at the same time.  He said something like, there will never come a time when I know everything, or even close.  When I get to heaven, I will probably raise my hand to ask some questions.  However, I’ll probably be told that I’ve asked enough questions and to have a seat.  I thought that was very thoughtful.   I suppose, that’s when listening begins and we appreciate all the more. 

                **As I’ve shared, the longer I live, the more I realize I don’t know anything.  Well, like others, I know a few things, learning along the way, but as I’ve said, there’s nothing I know that everyone else can’t figure out for themselves.  However, I believe we know enough to realize we’re not that smart, will never know all there is, and to be patient and appreciative.  All the best.

Looking About: Here and Now

                Here is a short story to describe what a friend, years ago shared, which later reminded about ponderings earlier.  Put together: with some discussions, observations, and ponderings from time to time….  Nothing extensive mind you.  Bits and notices, some a second or two, from time to time.  Noticing.  Perhaps nothing at the time, but later, even years later.  Even while reading a book.  Perhaps by listening.  Perhaps having caught a few words from time to time.

                **(This is an added, written the next day.  Computer had a glitch.):  I know this will sound “odd” to some people, but whatever anyone says or does “echoes” in eternity.  In a sense, perhaps.  So, something heard, spoken, done, even years later, might explain a current view or way of being.  This is not to be esoteric or new-agish.  It’s something I believe has brought for understanding, even many years later. But, for some reason, and it seems true, that things said and done are: not just was, but we can remember as if today. It’s a ponder.

                All the above, perhaps more, even in dreams.  Even in a day dream or two.  Sometimes, what I once thought was a memory, but later realized was a dream.  At other times, what I thought was a dream, day or night, but was a memory.  Even thoughts.

                The friend above described a scene: while growing up.  The scene was of a very organized and well-kept home.   Even like a well-maintained library, but also very clean and neat.  The organization.  The quiet.  The quiet so thick one might cut it with a butter knife.  Peace.  Ever-pervading peace.  Sometimes, from time to time.  And he often went out.  To get away from the ever-pervading silence. Might there be conversation?  Might people say what they’re thinking?  Might their be an understanding?  Perhaps, a time or two, he wanted to scream.  What are the people in his household thinking and what are we doing together?  A thought:  from time to time.

                Years later, he became that, in his own home.  What he attempted to perhaps “get away from” he became.  Couldn’t get away.  He was the one “watching” everything, attempting to control, wanting peace and quiet. He also found difficult to communicate, to say what was on his mind in a meaningful way, always missing the boat.  I believe a decent person, but something of the past remained with him.

                In another scene, a sister wondering what life might be like if people said what was on their mind.  What might life be like if people spoke with understanding?  Growing up?  Going to school? Friends, chores, and more?  Perhaps getting a career?  Perhaps a family?  And meaning.

                The other day, I watched a couple commercials about life insurance.  In another place, a friend was notified that a passing relative had left an “estate,” but he/she indicated to be left out of any will or such thing.  She/he had once told her/his parents that if they wanted to give him/her something, do so while they were here on the Earth that they might share.  She/he was never waiting for anything afterwards.  Perhaps a good charity.  Perhaps Saint Jude or such helpful places.  Perhaps.  For the talks and thoughtful discussions was what she enjoyed the most.  Time here and now.

                Another person, once or twice, perhaps more, receiving some helpful moneys when she/he was in somewhat “dire straits,” an accident creating difficulties.    However, with time, noticing a certain “distance” or “anger” in the family giver.  Not too much.  Never asked for help.  A couple or so thousand over a period of a couple of years, even saying thank you, but something changed.  Something changed.  There was something about the money. Or was it something else: though words could not be found? Was it like the above: something passed down, becoming through the next generation? And to what purpose, if any? And what had, from time to time, included enjoyable conversations, stopped after some time.  But to go back, how can one?  Paper bills.  Something that moth and dust ends over a period of time.  And what is now?

                Once, before, we wrote that the only place one lives is in this moment only.  There is no past or future, in the sense we only live in the now.  And what are we thinking now?  What are we communicating?  What is it we value and appreciate?  From time to time?

                As shared in recent articles, painting stepping stones and, more recently, canvas, I’ve found myself quietly observing, just looking.  From time to time.  I can’t quite put words to this.  I gathered, though, while sort of looking in a quiet pondering, that I had been painting pictures that had something I appreciated.  A squirrel in one.  A red artic fox in another.  A cabin in the woods, the sun slowly rising in the backdrop in a third.  Later, a winter mountain beyond.  Almost as if I’m looking at something I had nothing to do with. 

                Yes.  It actually seems that way.  I enjoyed working on these pictures, some scenes, but when they’re completed, something seems different, in a sense.  And I imagine, some people who take photographs, others who remember vacations, and so forth, often look back and sit quietly.

**There seemed a time when everything was present. Living in the here and now.

Appreciation. Seeing Through Others’ Eyes. From Time to Time.

**Thomas Kinkade may be one of the best painters of scenery.

                      We’ve been painting stepping stones, currently alternating with canvas for possible gifts.  It started from a curiosity about geology, later gathering rocks to study, then when we had buckets of rocks, I thought to use the various colors, minerals, and such to make stepping stones.  With time, the idea of painting pictures: similar images painted on stone which we paint on canvas, but with varied methods to bring forth images akin.

          More recently, I’ve been working more and more with animals, many nature blogs encouraging.  Recent additions are a red fox, a dolphin leaping out of the ocean, a leopard, and a moose in a meadow.  Those antlers were interesting to paint. We’ve been putting some out in the front yard garden.   A few people have passed by to look.  Our closest neighbor always stops by.  We made him a rabbit and turtle stepping stone as he has stone rabbits and other decor to decorate the front yard garden.

Today, we’re working on a bird’s eye view of a canyon, a bird flying overhead, looking about. Designing depth to the picture is a bit tricky, but fun and interesting. Always, trying and improvement is a one picture at a time endeavor. Better than television.

                      While talking with my neighbor, I laughed that sometimes, in the middle of the night, I’ll get up to look at them, even with a flashlight.  I can’t explain.  In fact, I explained to him, that when an “idea” occurs, that’s when it starts, and I often have no idea how it will turn out, for the stone takes the paint in often unpredictable ways.  For wood, as with trees and branches, the stepping stone works very well. So, I work with the material, trying this and that, and sometimes, something cool shows up.  Then, the next day, a little touch up, clear coat, and waiting until dry to add to the garden. 

                Now, along with the stepping stones, as indicated above, I’ve also been working more with canvas.  I was at first hesitant, for though I’ve worked with canvas in college, I’ve never liked the medium very much, partly because it’s been a quandary to me.  Something about the texture. 

                Well, I figured, why not.  Got plenty of time.  And this is what I found.  The work with the stepping stones sort of helped get ready to work with canvas, for I now work with the material, which I find very interesting.  Patience and time.   

**He painted in layers, with much training and wonder.

                Well, I decided to get a Thomas Kinkade book on some of his paintings.  I thought, perhaps I might attempt some of his smaller works, perhaps a part of a painting, just for fun.  However, as I looked at the various paintings, I found myself staring.  They are wonderful.  The use of colors.  The blending.  The understanding of shadows and form.  How light interacts with nature.  Everything together.  I found myself looking throughout each painting, such that, it might be days before I get through one book.  Then, I’ll probably start again. 

An interesting read was about how he painted pictures in steps, or layers, such that the colors and sense of light worked to make very nice scenes.

                It reminded me of when I last stood in a Thomas Kinkade art gallery.  Years ago.  And I remember standing there looking at the various paintings and reprints. 

                I was outside, talking with another neighbor, showing him the book, as he explained that Thomas Kinkade had passed away.  So, I looked that up, and found that he had been a very heavy drinker, as I understand, which I believe led to his parting.  Only 54 years of age.  And I wondered.

                From what I’ve read, it seems to me Thomas Kinkade was a Christian.  However, we’ve gathered, something was bothering him which he never was able to overcome.  However, his paintings are a share of the wonder and outlook of one painter. We gather his paintings share the good things he saw.

                We encourage people to get a book or two of Thomas Kinkade paintings.  They are quite wonderful.  He painted with oils, which is a very interesting medium, and from what I can see thus far, really understood the workings of the brushes and other tools with the canvas.  Hmmm….  I think I’ll look at some more paintings. 

                Fishing later.     

**Whether it be photography, drawing, painting, wood carvings, or any other, we would encourage people to dabble a bit. Makes for something to do when the wi-fi is down, but also can be fun and interesting.

Encouraging with Thoughtfulness

Too….

**A matter of perspective.

**A friend once commented that when honestly pondering, each person will also see themselves.

                While reading Louis L’Amour’s “Last of the Breed,” picking out letters in Albert Einstein’s book from time to time, I started rereading Natan Shiransky’s book:  “The Case for Democracy.”  The latter novel I read years ago and am finding it quite thoughtful once again.  As he believes “freedom” is what everyone truly wants, I find myself pondering upon the truthfulness of that belief, for the quandary is what actually happens throughout the generations.  For in America, we seem to be seeing more and more people preferring to “give up” their freedoms, which then, brings forth some questions.

                I hadn’t thought to write this, but this seems the place to do so.  Many will remember the story of the Garden of Eden.  As many know, Adam and Eve had the best of everything, and they lived in peace.  However, somehow, the thought entered their minds that they could know everything for themselves, completely lead their own lives, and make their own happiness. 

                That “scene” is a quandary.  Whoever it was that told them these lies, meeting Eve in a tree (We believe that Adam was standing somewhere nearby the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when he should have pulled Eve away.), was the most immature creature in the garden.  And when “he” “fooled” the pair into doing what they knew they should not, they were also acting immature.  And that, together with something we read in Proverbs.  For whatever sin is is terribly immature.  To do the right thing is to do what we know is right in our hearts, even if it takes years and years.  Often, wanting things quickly is the mindset of immaturity.  You know, having it all, whatever “it all” is.

                And then, while sitting here, I noticed a few commercials (Yes, I still tend to mute most.).  Those commercials are not honest.  Those commercials are encouraging people to be selfish, self-seeking, worry about themselves and having it all, getting what’s “owed to them” even though we’re owed nothing, feel good all the time, and more.  To a degree, it seems like the “Garden of Eden” scene plays over and over again throughout life:  each and every day.  As in Pinocchio, when that sly pair were trying to goad him into leaving good studies and responsibility and get rich and famous quick.

For a moment, another thought came:  That’s what some people do.  While they are in the “wrong” or “immature” place, they cause others to behave immature and make bad decisions, even if it’s just in conversation and getting others to think them wise and intelligent.  In a sense, they’re trading places, but “fooling” others as was done in the garden.  **I believe that’s also why people “compare” themselves to others, feeling a bit better by seeing others’ errors and wrongs, then not having to look at themselves.  Trading places so to speak.  Maturity by comparison.  But that seems to be an even more immature thing to do.  Which then will require additional distractions. 

                And that returned my attention to Natan Shiransky’s book, among others.  While the best place for all of us is in freedom with responsibility, the problem is all too many, when we have the freedom, don’t follow with responsibility.  There is no such thing as freedom without responsibility.  And, as I have been reading, when all too-many people have the freedom, they also listen to those commercials, try to get rich quick, try to “be something” in others’ eyes, and all in all forget what freedom truly means.

                But here’s a quandary.  When we do see our “immaturity,” our wrongs (or sins), what do we do?  Do we realize, acknowledge, and at the same time become patient with the realization?  Do we try to compensate by doing “good” elsewhere, which could be good, but can also be hiding from realizing?  Do we blame others who we think weren’t there for us when they could have been? Or, another way, upon seeing our fallibilities, do we then seek “knowledge,” accomplishments and certificates, to write the next great novel, blame, talk the good talk to those who will listen.  And that is another quandary, because when one is hiding from seeing their immaturity and fallibilities, when they have an audience, who is in the audience?  The same looking back.  Both are supporting the other’s chase from realization.  So, someone says, what can one do?  Perhaps just one day at a time.

I remember a friend from long ago saying something about, upon seeing an area that needed “changing,” having the inability to do anything about it. And so was patient. And somewhere, down the line, he made a better choice when the circumstances came around and was peaceful for this.

Prayers.

**We’re currently making more stepping stones of animals, also including canvas boards. Let’s see, squirrels, chipmunks, a red fox, and today, maybe another chipmunk or a wolf. The picture and colors must work with the materials..

**Looks like a very good chance for Argentina vs. France in the FIFA World Championships on Sunday. I’m hoping for Argentina, but I’m also good either way. Both teams have played very well.

Ideas Abound: In the Moment

To live life or a program. To be real each moment: day by day. To wonder.

*Always dreamed of taking part….

                There is something about conditioning that we’re becoming more aware.  It’s a bit difficult to put words to the music in such a way as to span the distance of the web.  But we’ll try it this way:

                I was talking to a friend the other day, and the topic of money, retirement, and all of that came up.  At some point, I shared something I’ve noticed over the years.  I explained I’ve always found that being motivated by money doesn’t seem to be in my genes.  Oh, I’ve worked for many years, worked to improve the income, and set funds aside for rainy days and all, even taking work with higher pay as it might improve savings and retirement.  Working and saving is simply part of life.  Preparing for the future, saving for later, makes sense. And often, where people have enough, they share with good charities, knowing the people being helped.

                While trying my hand at this job and that, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work at a zoo and some readers know:  for two years.  Being around deer, tigers, goats, monkeys, and more, cleaning cages, working in maintenance, bringing in supplies, helping with the animal medical (We sometimes had to hold an animal for procedures.), and more.  At that time, I wanted to do something “different” and interesting prior to “having” to start on a career.  I just couldn’t work only for money. And I was fortunate to have learned some good things from some good people. 

                Well, I realized after some time, if I were to have a good income, a career, and retirement, I was going to have to make progress in that direction.  And so I did.  Except, I was talking with a friend on another day, and something struck me.  Of course, we make decisions at the time we make them, with the information we have, and do our best.  I was fortunate to have found a variety of jobs before a career.  But, from time to time, I wondered how many people try there hand at a few things before making a decision, and how many throw caution to the wind while they’re still single, though that does have risks. But then, what is worth doing without real motivation and responsibility?

                Here’s what I noticed.  While going to college and getting a degree, I also took four horseback riding classes, helping with shows on the side.  And later, I worked at a couple summer camps, teaching horseback riding to campers and such.  And even later, while beginning  a career, I borrowed a horse to practice the riding, but also trained a friend’s horse from the ground.  That took about two weeks, for I only worked with the horse an hour a day (They had no round pen which would have made everything smoother.), having never been taught how, training a newbie three-year-old thoroughbred in all the paces.  Saddle, walk, trot, cantor, walking backwards, opening gates while atop the horse, and so forth.

                While talking, I pondered had I instead looked for a quality horseback training facility, willing to work for peanuts (That’s an expression meaning very little.), in order to learn from the ground up.  It’s a ponder.  And I ask it for this reason.

                Finding a career, or working a business, in part to have a good income, set money aside, and to prepare for retirement down the road is a good idea.  Taking care of family is a fantastic idea.  And being responsible is always key.

                However, all roads don’t always happen the same way.  And we ought not allow the media and other people’s ideas to choose for us.  Of course, not every idea leads to success, but in part, that’s not the point.  And when one falls down, “fails” for lack of a better word, one can choose to learn from the experience, decide what is next, and continue forward.  And perhaps, decades down the road, through the ups and downs, a person might have gained experiences worth passing onto others.  Again, it’s a ponder.

**Here’s an addition to the above. All the changes, in the wrong direction, comes from people not truly thinking for themselves.

**Prayers.