Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Ag-Man's Prayer ~Finished Piece~


It is finished.
Inspired by my husband.
by the cries of our heart
sometimes spoken
sometimes silent.
by the song 

Art for our home.



Psalm 65 answers the heart's cry . . . 













We soak in and savor the green
when we have it.









Photos & Art property of Jodene Shaw.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Please Don't Let My Dreams Run Dry


My husband told me once
that this was the song he listened to while he was haying,
taking his swather for another round of cutting,
and his tractor another round for baling.
He and the lifestyle he has given us
are often inspiration for my art and photography.
You can listen to my man's song in another tab here: Amarillo Sky by Jason Aldean
as I give you a sneak peek at this piece I've been working on for the past month.



This ranch where we live and work
has been in his family for over 100 years.
His great grandfather came from Ireland
and homesteaded here on the prairie of western South Dakota.



It was a leap of faith for his great-grandfather
to come to America for a new life.

And a walk of faith for 
the next three generations.
Our kids will be the fourth generation.





walk of faith

and

a

way of

life.




A way of life.

Feeding the world.

To
feed
our
kids.



Layered into this piece
is an anonymous poem from a book
from the late 1800's

about a husband
working and waiting 
on the land
weary,
facing
doubts and fear,
and
drought
and

who cries out 

to 

God.

It could be the prayer of 
my husband,
his dad,
his brother,
his granddad,
my dad,
my Grandpa Tommy,
my brother,
my son Tommy 
in his future.

It is much like the Amarillo Sky prayer,

Please let my crops and children grow.
Lord, I never complain, I never ask "why",
Please don't let my dreams run dry . . . 


Today, as I work on this piece to honor our

walk
of 
faith

and

way
of 
life,

it

is

raining.

And the answer to the prayer
seems to come
in the words of Psalm 65:




You visit the earth and water it,
You greatly enrich it;
The river of God is full of water;
You provide their grain,
For so You have prepared it.
You water its ridges abundantly,
You settle its furrows;
You make it soft with showers,
You bless its growth.

You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.
Psalm 65:9-11



Grateful
for our way of life.

And for God.
Who is Faithful and True.
No matter what seasons and circumstances come upon us.



Additional inspiration this week came from
these links:
{Wonderful photography/art/message in these links}

~ We are grateful here at Shaw Ranch, Inc. for the opportunity 
that our kids have to work on our ranch. ~
~ They learn skills and work ethic and responsibility for life and for family. ~

This is the statistic that they shared:
97.2% of America's young farmers and ranchers
plan to farm and ranch for life.
90 % would like their children
to follow in their footsteps.

More Jason Aldean songs:  Fast and Fly Over States
When I first heard the lyrics to Fast,
I thought about how the thought of saying goodbye to the hardships
would be like saying goodbye to family . . . to our life.

And from Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts
here is her Canadian heartfelt blog fitting this post's inspiration:

And last, but not least,
joining these bloggers
for sneak peeks into their inspirational spaces:
sneak peek

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Go After It With Intention


Gratitude.

Often

it takes

intention.




On purpose,

hunting for

what is

beautiful,

wonderful,

helpful,

nourishing,

fun,

intimate.




Mundane,

everyday,

normal,

ordinary,

can

become

a

treasure.




Really.  It can.

Sacred.

Moments.




What do you want to remember?

What matters?




What moments do you not want to miss?

To catch in your net,

and look closely and see the beauty up close?


My camera has become a tool

that helps me capture

 gratitude,

honor,

the sacred.

My art helps me remember

those things I don't want to forget.

I am working on a series of workshops.

I can hardly stand not to tell all about it!

But I want you to know that it is coming.

And this is the theme ~ gratitude and wonder in everyday life.

It will involve

your camera,

a taste of art,

and a big dose of heart.

~ Watch for an announcement ~

~ Sign up for my newsletter at the top right column of this blog ~

~ Online and/or face-to-face opportunities ~

~ SOON! ~


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Orange Cutie Birdfeeders


My California cuties were getting wrinkled and dry.

And our Christmas pine cone birdfeeders were empty,
some laying on the grass.

Yesterday, a friend asked how I get so much done.

My first thought was, "I don't."

I almost laughed because in my mind and as I look around
I think,
"Why can't I get everything done?"
"Why can't I take care of what is important?"
"Why is my house such a MESS?"
"What is the matter with me?"





We talked about the internet culture.
How some of us share so much of our lives online
through social networking and blogging
that we feel like we really know people,
yet we've never met them.
Or we know much about them,
but they don't have a clue who we are,
even though we are "followers".

Hmmm . . . and I thought about what I share online.
I share this fun birdfeeder project with my girl.
And it looks like I'm getting so much done with her.
But how long have those old pinecones laid in my yard?
4 months.


I don't share the photos of the pinecones
that are lying in the grass
with outdated Christmas ribbon attached.
Or photos of my moments that I am feeling so inadequate.
Or that I was so busy getting ready for an art booth
that I never even looked at the school calendar that told me
my daughter was preschool leader for the day
and I was supposed to bring snacks and help the teacher for the day.
And all the way there, after her call,
I called myself horrible names and shamed myself for being so irresponsible and inconsiderate.
Thinking my daughter was going to be upset
that we didn't prepare special snacks and select a book for her teacher to read.What a horrible mom I am!
I am so irresponsible.
Tears are threatening.




I don't take pictures of the crumbs that build up on the step of my kitchen floor.
Or the grease that builds up on the stovetop.
Or the dust-bunnies in the corner.
Or the carpet that hasn't been cleaned for . . . . .
Or the corners that are stacked with papers and books and clothes that need sorted, thrown away.
Or the holes in the skirting of our mobile home
from the hail that came through a few years ago.
Interesting how I am careful not to have any of that in the background of my photos.




People see this fun birdfeeder project
and think I have all the time in the world.
But I don't.
I let something else go.
Something else doesn't get done.
Housework.
Building a business.
Making money.
Laundry.
Ironing? Ha! That's never done.

And some days I am frantic trying
to pay bills and make it all work
and create more art
and find a way to promote my work
and work on ideas for the future
and my daughter watches television while I pursue my own stuff.



I fight in my head either way.
If I am working on art business
I am feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my girl.
If I am doing a project with her
I'm beating myself up for being luxurious and playing.
If I'm doing Bible study,
I'm thinking I should be cleaning my house.

There is always something else calling to me to take care of it.

The guilt gremlin never ceases.
But I have to silence it.
I have to choose to be present to the moment.
I have to own my choice in the moment.
My choice is different than everyone else's.

And I choose to enjoy it, savor it, work hard at it.
Or indulge the guilty feelings.

It is a concious choice.
A battle.


I spent my morning with my daughter today.
Making birdfeeders.
I loved it.

I did not work on new art projects.
I did not work on my online business class work.
I did not scrub my very dirty kitchen floor.
I have a load of unfolded laundry on my couch.
I'm wondering if I should get a "real" job.
I did not do a morning quiet time of prayer and Bible study this morning.



Life is not perfect.
Not easy.

But it is good.
And when it is good,
I grab that moment and enjoy it.

Moments with my girl are fleeting.
She will go to kindergarten in the fall.
Five days a week, all day.

One foot in front of the other,
I do what I can.

Making memories.
And sometimes working
while she watches tv.


Grateful for grace.
God's grace.
I will never be enough or do enough.
But because Jesus is more than enough.
He makes me enough and do enough.
And if His grace is good enough for me.
It is good enough for my girl.
It is good enough for each one
who would reach out
and take the gift
of
grace.



My life is real.
My moments are real.
There is good woven in with the bad.
Beauty in the mess.
Joy in the midst of unfulfilled goals and plans.
Fulfilment and satisfaction in simplicity and chaos.
Moments of sacred-ness in the midst of frustration and fury.
Journeying toward what we believe and hope for.
Things that didn't turn out the way I'd hoped,
but that turned out so much better than I could have planned.
Life.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Crazy Beautiful



Sometimes

I can't believe




that

simple things




can be so

crazy

beautiful.




I just have to

stop



and

look.


Exceeding
abundance.

*
Linking with these ladies:
Finding Heaven

2012 copyright Jodene (Jodi) Shaw

Friday, April 6, 2012

Become Fascinated With the Ordinary




Life lessons from Erin.





Last week,
Erin was ecstatic!

*

Celebrate!

*


The dandelions are here!

*






She was so excited that she grabbed
two mismatched
flip-flops for her feet.






What a lesson
in
joy
and
abundance
and
simple
delight
and
happiness.





Jesus said,
"Let the little children come to Me,
and do not forbid them;
for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
{Matthew 19:14}






He keeps teaching me simplicity and joy
through the heart and mind and hands
of a little girl
with a fist full of dandelions.





The Lord keeps teaching me
that He came

that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly
{John 10:10}

through simple little things like this.

A fist full of dandelions
is
a
little
glimpse
of

abundant

life.



Have a Happy Easter.
Enjoy a time of remembrance today:  Good Friday.
And celebrate His resurrection
and the
beautiful newness
He has given
and will continue
to give and create
in
your
heart
and
life

forever.

Last year's Easter Post here with my mudpie making girl:  Gotta Love Her
Communion with Erin was a challenge in 2011.
This year, she is excited.
She said,
"Yay!  Communion!"
My adult mind thinks, "Yay? Excitement? Should I teach her reverence?"
And I say,
"What do we remember when we have communion?"
She says, "Jesus."
Yes. Jesus.
She is five. She is excited.
Should I let her express her genuine 5-year-old feelings?
Or teach her false reverence that she doesn't understand?
She will learn the true reverence
on her
own,
I believe
as she gets bruised and banged up by this world.
So, today,
I am glad she is excited for communion.
Does she understand it all?
Hmmmm . . . .
Excitement for dandelions?
Let the little children come to me
for such is the kingdom of heaven . . .
I think in some ways
her childlike faith
understands much more of the kingdom of heaven
than my adult mind that
has been wounded and wearied by this world
and has to be
taught
again
the
truth
of His kingdom.

I teach her about Jesus.
And she teaches me about Him too.

*
*
*

I found this little hymn in my great-grandma's hymnal:
Little Sunbeams
I think God gives the children, as through the land they go,
The most delightful mission, That anyone can know;
He wants us to be sunbeams of love and hope and cheer,
To brighten up the shadows that often gather here.

O we are little sunbeams, sent down from God to man;
In all life's shady places we shine as best we can.

The clouds may hide the sunshine of heaven from our sight,
And life have much of sorrow to mar the heart's delight
But if like faithful sunbeams we children do our part,
we'll bring a ray of brightness to ev'ry shadowed heart.

O we are little sunbeams, sent down from God to man;
In all life's shady places we shine as best we can.

Then let us live our mission of sunbeams day by day,
And scatter joy and brightness about us all the way;
Let's chase away life's shadows with loving thought and deed,
And be the sunshine makers of which the world has need.

O we are little sunbeams, sent down from God to man;
In all life's shady places we shine as best we can.

copyright 1902 by E.O. Excell.





Photos and art copyright 2012 Jodene (Jodi) Shaw.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Little Adventures on the Prairie


The pasque flowers must be blooming in the Black Hills.
I'm seeing photos of them on facebook.
So they are probably blooming on the north side of Mom & Dad's hill.
I've never seen them on the prairie,
but then, I've never looked before.
The pasque flower is South Dakota's state flower.
I have memories of home picking fists full on that north slope.

Erin and I went out hunting on the prairie.
We didn't find any pasque flowers but this is what we did find.

One hour on the prairie.


Horned larks.




Canada Geese.



Last year's grass and weeds and wildflowers.




Erin whined most of the drive.
That she was bored and hungry and tired.



But then we got out of the car.

And she discovered a great place

for

adventure.


The exploring began.




Little treasures in the ground.




Trails for the taking.




Geese and ducks and red-winged blackbirds to spy on.





Coyote tracks?
Or has one of the dogs been here?




A deep breath, before saying,

"Mom, I've never seen geese so close!"




Roots.




Discovering a wonderful place
for hide-and-seek.





"Mom, you count.  I'll hide."





Popping out of the cliffs
like a little prairie dog.




And thinking she is quite
sneaky . . .





My whiner did not want to go home.

In fact, she decided,

"This is a great place for an Easter egg hunt."

"I'm so creative.  I thought of that idea all by myself."


No pasque flowers.

But loads of fun.

Reminding myself not to miss the treasure that is there
when what you hope to find is not there.





One hour of abundance.

"I had a great time with you, Mom."

"Me too, Erin.  That was fun."







*


All photos copyright 2012 Jodene (Jodi) Shaw.