This is My "Real" Blog: Life Outside the Lines

Angie's Blog!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Life Outside the Lines

Being my mother's daughter, I am one that really enjoys "purging" from time to time. No. . .I am not referring to an eating disorder . . .although that might get me out of my weight loss slump. I am a big fan of the housecleaning kind of purge.

Don't get me wrong--there are childhood treasures. . .I mean treasures that my dear, sweet mother (man, that makes her sound old -- and she's NOT) . . .there are childhood treasures that I would literally give an eyetooth for, if they weren't in a landfill somewhere in the midwest.

My early embroidery projects. . . .Yeah, they're gone. Valentines from friends from grade school. Do you even have to ask? That's right. . .they're gone, too. I'm not bitter. In fact, I'm thankful for that part of my genetic makeup -- otherwise we wouldn't be able to park in our garage at all. Currently, we can put one vehicle in. . . I'm hoping for two (2) by the summer's end. I'll keep you posted.

But, I am glad that one of the life lessons she imparted to me was the fact that getting rid of stuff doesn't devalue the relationships between family and friends. If I've learned anything from her (and from my friends at Clean House) it's that clutter and too much stuff is just that. . . clutter. If you can't enjoy it -- what's the point in having it? AND. . .if I may be so bold--there are people living with nothing, and that extra set of Rubbermaid containers or Tupperware glasses from 1982 would do them a lot more good than they would me. Especially if they're in a heap in the garage, and I can't even remember that I have them. Okay, I'm done. Sorry for climbing up on my soapbox. It was unintentional. But, it does set this post up well, I think.

Today, I accomplished a project that has been hounding me for the last couple of months. Today, I took five minutes (that part kills me---it only took five minutes) and photographed Caroline's artwork that has been gathering dust on top of my microwave.

Am I keeping all of it? NO. I am keeping a few pieces. But the rest, I am cherishing with a picture--and probably a scrapbooking layout or two. I figure the exchange of eighteen pieces of tempera-paint-laden paper (not to mention ounces and ounces of GLITTER) for 1 or 2 scrapbook pages is worth it. (Environmental issues aside) I was tired of my kitchen looking like a dumping ground. I feel better. I feel stronger. I've accomplished something.

Here are some of my favorites. . .

This Easter Egg was made at school (preschool). You will note that, along with glitter, we have these little yellow 3-dimensional dots. For those of you old enough to remember, it's like the old "Contac" commercial where they open the pill, and all the little medicine globules come pouring out. But, in this case, it makes the egg more festive, doesn't it? I really do like it -- and it's one that I'm keeping. Never fear.

This, we decided was the Easter Bunny. He is quite large -- 18 inches across, I believe. He's also disproportionally spaced, but we all have our bad "hare" days now, don't we? (Sorry.) He's not being kept as he hangs...but he will forever be cherished in digital form. I think he's rather cute.

I love this Christmas tree. I am keeping it. I don't know how I'm going to preserve it. It's HUGE. But, I love it. I know she had lots of help on it -- because her hands are lined up so perfectly. It's just precious. And, the fact that one day I'll look back at those little hand prints. . .well, you know I'm tearing up just thinking about it.
This next piece is one of three finger paint projects. These are from her Mother's Day Out program. Ms. Lindsay is a big fan of finger-painting. And, I have to say I am too. Caroline does an exquisite job. . . and for what it's worth, she rarely gets squeamish about touching gooey things. I give a lot of credit to Ms. Lindsay for allowing her to get used to finger paint -- and expressing herself in her own way. I'll let you look at this masterpiece before I continue.

Why are these my favorites?

I'll tell you why. . . So many of the pieces of art that Caroline brings home are from a pattern where the completed pictures, if done like the directions say, will be "perfect." We throw that term around a lot in this house. . .not because we're in the pursuit of perfection, but rather because "Max & Ruby" say it a lot, and we are starting to "parrot" everything we hear. . .and I mean everything.

When I see these fingerpaintings-- I see traces of Caroline's fingerprints. I realize that no one else on earth has the same fingerprint as she does. I acknowledge that she is one-of-a-kind, unique, fearfully & wonderfully created. . .and I celebrate that when I see her fingerprints traced through the greens and reds. . . .because they're perfect.

In a world where conformity is expected. . . .where stores like Old Navy and the Gap show us how we are supposed to look. . .and there's no room for ambiguity or creativity, I find her artwork refreshing. I also find is to be a metaphor for her life. She doesn't do things like everyone else does. She's just doesn't.

She doesn't talk like other kids. . .but she talks (non-stop, actually). She doesn't walk like other kids. . .she can't jump (yet) up and down. . .she may not have all of her life-skills mastered yet. . . but she will. And, when she does them, by golly, you had better sit up and take notice--I'll make sure you do.

When I see these strokes of her fingers and hands and (if I'm honest) her elbows, I see her reckless abandon in expressing love for her Maker by freely combining colors and strokes in whatever pattern she chooses. I believe, with every fiber of my being that she probably smiles, giggles, or laughs at this absolute freedom to express herself.

There are no rules. . . no comparisons. . . no assessments. . . .no standards by which to judge her work. And I think her little heart dances with the joy of expression without criticism.

She's not necessarily going to have an easy life. It's not been a cakewalk thus far. . .but she's made it this far, and continues to smile and bring laughter to everyone she meets. So, if someone asks whether or not she's leading a productive, happy life, I'd show them this painting, and say, "Judge for yourself."

I pray that I never have to choose just one picture or one piece of artwork from either of my kids. As much as I brag about purging stuff, I am hopelessly sentimental. But, if I was ever forced to make such a decision, these fingerpaint masterpieces would definitely be very high on the "save it" list.

And now I think you understand why.

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Blogger 20Birds said...

you are making me cry again

4:16 PM  
Blogger 20Birds said...

its the whole fingerprint/elbow print thing that makes me think God is so cool and makes me think the world is gosh darn lucky/blessed to have her, and not nearly enough of the world knows it yet... back to my layout from the other day ... some of the other lyrics... i've just seen a face and i want the world to know.....

4:35 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

God's fingerprints, passed on to us through her. Thanks.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous tiger lamb girl said...

You know what we used to do with all our children's masterpieces (that plastered every inch of the kitchen walls until you couldn't see a speck of paint)? Once the wall was full, we'd take photos of their lovely paintings so we could keep a record of them. Then we would clear the walls off together (usually at the end of the school year) to make room for the next batch. That worked really well for us. And we have all their artwork on the computer.

I have a barn - full of boxes of stuff (i'm not even kidding one bit). Earlier today the thought occurred to me that I should go through each box - organise everything and start donating things we no longer use or need. Our house is too small to fit everything, so most of the stuff out there will have to go. Eventually. I'll sell some stuff on ebay too (books, etc.).

Anyway, then I saw your post. And you wrote about clutter. LOL! Must be a sign!! For me to get my A into G!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

Tears. Love it.

Here is your journaling for said page, Angie....lovely and perfect.

9:17 PM  
Blogger MamaChef's Ramblings said...

I'm a hopeful packrat...I didn't want to say hopeless, because I have high hopes of getting over this...and SOON!!!! Part of it is sentiment over my kids, know!!!!

As for the part about fingerprints...WOW!!!! I love how you word things! And I'm going to try to bring a copy of one of my favorite devotions to you on's about fingerprints!

11:41 PM  
Blogger Helen Hancock said...

oh it when you blog like this.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Judy said...

You my dear have a way with words...Beautiful is all I can say.

10:12 PM  
Blogger That Chick Over There said...

That was just beautiful. Every bit of it.


9:45 AM  
Blogger 20Birds said...

guess i cannot get anough of you guys... i left you a surprise on my blog... k'belle picked the song

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The finger painting is just too cool! I, like you, think it's the best of the bunch! Fantastic use of color and spectacular presence on the paper.

...and I'm not just sayin that to be nice...

12:47 PM  

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