Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Orange. Purple. Silver.

I just returned from a trip to see my youngest sister in Colorado Springs. Her husband is in the Air Force.

There was a time when my two younger sisters, Susan and Elizabeth (just two years apart), were almost like identical twins. Whatever I'd get or create for one sister, I'd have to get or create the same for the other. Then one day gradually over time each of their very unique personalities shined.

Now, in our family, we three sisters are: a creative, a physical therapist, and a CPA. But that's just one single label on the vast complexity of each of us as a human being.

I've always been an advocate of this quote I have posted in my home:
"Man's main task is
to give birth to himself."

—Erich Fromm
Blending in or standing out. This is the dance of life. And I believe we all teeter between these two polarities at various times throughout our lives. But we should stand out. Be more than a single label on the vast complexity of each of us as a human being.

Two things from this past weekend's trip caught my eye:

First, we went to the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. Just as we walked inside I noticed a small camouflage bible for the service men and women. Camo, so that (EVERYthing) would blend in to the surroundings. Would stay safe.

But then my eye was turned upward to the wildly sparkling colorful ceiling of sun-soaked stained glass slivers cutting toward the sky like the contrails of a jet reaching to the heavens. And it was the bright colorful unique ones that were the eye candy. That were such an absolute delight to look at. To photograph. To look at again. I was like a child looking at the gumball machine in the grocery store.

Second, was a little book that I picked up as we were browsing around at Barnes & Noble. In this little trivia book, I learned this: There are no words in the English language that rhyme with orange, purple, or silver.

Not only did those colors stand out in the tall, tall ceilings of the chapel but they can't be matched, there's no synonym or rhyme for them. They are unique.

So, be an orange, purple, or silver.

Be unique. Be unryhmable. Be wildly sparkling.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The first four letters

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
The first four letters inside the word heart...
To get to the fullness of our
t, we must first hear.

©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


C R E A T I V E - S P A R K

our world is small. our heart is big.

an online image of the tsunami's devastation in Japan in contrast
to the simplicity of the Japanese flag. thinking of all of these folks
who lost everything, maybe loved ones, or even their own lives.


Why does it take a broken elevator?

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Why does it take a broken elevator? Or an heartless attack on an American city? Or a hurricane? Or a tsunami? Or nuclear meltdown? For us to have more compassion with one another. And boldly act on that compassion. There's a show that breaks these monstrous tragedies down to daily bite-size versions of doing the right thing:
What Would You Do?

You don't have to be Christian or Jewish, speak English or Spanish, have money or not. You have to care and have the audacity to act on it. Period.

When an elevator gets stuck, these 'strangers' who you wouldn't otherwise breathe a word to, may very well save your life. May even become life-long friends. If your home is dissolved by a force of nature, you don't care where the help comes from.

Someone on Facebook today just posted this,

"Knowingly giving ones life to help millions of others reveals the truth of what the human spirit can be... why is it only during times of horrific crisis that we put our differences aside and extend ourselves to each other

Why indeed.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's on your bucket list?

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
I recall in 3rd grade, my Sunday school teacher had asked us, "if your house caught on fire, what would you grab to take out with you?" Even at the ripe, wise, old age of [well, however old I was in 3rd grade] I knew she was fishing for us to say, our Bible. But I thought to myself, I love God and all, but you can always get another Bible.

My answer? I'd take photos with me. Those are irreplaceable.
My inquisitive and wandering nature began.

Perhaps I'm struggling with the recent involuntary and instant loss both of human life and of the 'things' that were deemed important amidst the absolutely surreal tsunami that resulted from Japan's recent earthquake. But these folks must now go on, many, without their loved ones. And most without their once treasured possessions.

In the end we all know we can't take any of the physical things we surround ourselves with, with us. But, if you could fill one bucket with up to five items, possessions, tools, etc. from your home to grab in an emergency, what would they be?
  1. ______________
  2. ______________
  3. ______________
  4. ______________
  5. ______________
These are a few of our favorite things. But they are not us.
They make us comfortable, but they are not critical.

Certainly the things we have do bring us a sense comfort, or status, or hold memories. But what's interesting is that when you are separated from those 'things', you actually find you already and still carry a great deal of your life in your mind. In fact, the 'thing' itself is of no consequence, it's the importance you put on it that gives it value.

"C'est le temp que tu as perdu pour ta rose qui fait ta rose si importante."
It's the [time/love/value] you have given to the rose that makes the rose so important.
— Le Petit Prince
My hope is that we never ever have a need to fill our bucket. And that when we say, you're in our thoughts, you take great comfort that that's a very safe place where you can stay for a very long time.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Give it up

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Closer to God. Closer to fine?
I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.

I took this photo of some little purple crocus just yesterday on Sligo Creek. These are the first flowers to emerge announcing the arrival of spring. In the winter they were just a little non-descript bulb. But buried away deep in the earth, they wait. And they wait. And after waiting a really, really long time...
lentement, lentement, ils apparaissent they burst through and make their debut in brilliant colors as a flower.

Give it up.

In the past I've given something up for the season of Lent. We live busy lives. We can lose ourselves. Our purpose. And life flies by. But this life is not a dress rehearsal. So, I like the hiccup that happens when you commit to let go and release something from your life. Set it aside, or, as I'm planning to do this year, perhaps add something to your life, consistently, throughout these 40 days.

Today marks the beginning of Lent and being inquisitive by nature (what did I do before the internet, I have no idea), I got curious about some of the traditions of Lent. My own personal interpretation of Lent may lean a little toward the pagan side, but there's a profound spiritual connection that can occur as well.

As for some basic questions I had...

Why is it called Lent?
Lent means long. Slow. According to one source, it also means Spring. And... the days are getting longer.

Why pancakes on Tuesday? And eggs at Easter?
Pancakes were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as milk, sugar, and... eggs before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. So then when Easter Sunday arrived it was a time to celebrate, priests would bless eggs, cheese, meats and other items that the faithful had been abstaining from during Lent. Hence, Easter eggs. The bunnies? You'll have to do some research on your own...

How did we get from fasting ...to giving up chocolate, TV, and Facebook*?
There are traditionally 40 days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods or festivities. Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, or do something that will center themselves, bringing them closer to God. Many modern Protestants consider the observation of Lent to be a choice, or opportunity, rather than an obligation.

As for my pagan interpretation and the spiritual connection...

Removing something in our life that doesn't contribute to us being the best us, or adding in something that will get us to that place... is how I see the journey of Lent. By giving up something that interferes or overly influences your life, or making the time for you to contemplate your unique purpose, I believe we can get closer to what we are meant to be in this life.

And being a breadcrumb-follower who just turned 40 last December, this journey of 40 days has a particular connectionfor me this year.

Getting closer to God?

We live in a world that sadly provides more and more reasons for people to distrust organized religion. But humans are the problem. Not God. Humans are fallible. Even in our best efforts, each of us has done or said things that don't coincide with the image we have of ourselves, or maybe the image God has for us. So Lent, to me, provides a period of time to contemplate this. As for God, I can't prove to you that God exists. And I like that. That is why it is called faith.

If you do happen to subscribe to the idea that each of us has a unique gift or purpose for our short time in this crazy and beautiful world, I believe that one of the greatest achievements (and displays of gratitude) is to relentlessly pursue that.

Closer to fine?

What is it for you? Is it being an artist and showing the world something that their eyes were blind to before? Is it to be a teacher and guide a young mind? Be a loving father? Is it to head up a volunteer organization and offer compassion in a harsh world? Is it to be a world traveler and shed light on the beauties, or atrocities, around the world? What is your gift? Your purpose? Why are you here?

In our busy, busy lives. In the routine-ness we fall into. In the over-obligated schedules we hold. When is there even the time to contemplate these things? To become... closer to fine. Closer to God?

If the time isn't there, I believe we must make the time.

Only we (and God) know our deep past and present struggles, and what we want for our future. I believe that we possess more wisdom, insight, and strength than we know. I believe in the core of our being
each of us knows what gift or purpose we each possess. And when we can center and quiet ourselves enough, when we can rely on ourselves and connect with God we can regain that hidden strength and purpose. Going out to the desert for 40 days must have been a very centering experience. Shedding outside influence. Getting closer to God.

A few years back I gave up TV. Such a relief. No bombardment of information I really didn't need... or even want. And a freedom to get out, read more, or just relax.

* Then last year I even surprised myself by giving up... Facebook. For 40 days. Perhaps this illustrates the more 'pagan' interpretation that I referred to. But what happened was transformative. Being that I work solo as a professional creative in the DC-area, I don't have 'cube mates' or others in my office to chat with or bounce ideas off of, FB is a god-send. And it has an 'alive' quality about it, with profile pics changing like mood rings, little blips of sweet juicy insights into someone's take on their world in a given day. And that part can make it a bit addictive. So I sought to retreat. To recalibrate. And I loved the break from it.

And this year, I am focusing, more privately, on a new thing for this season.

I can't randomly quote scripture from the bible, I certainly don't profess to be perfect or holier than anyone, I'm not. But I do strive to be the best that I can be while I'm here on this beautiful crazy planet. And I do believe in God. And
that where God guides, God will provide. If it's to the wilderness for reflection. So be it. If it's into service and volunteer work so be it. If it's turning off the things in our life that are distractions. Give it up.

In retreating, in this losing of ourselves, we can become found.

After this upcoming period of Lent, of sacrifice... or focus... or addition... perhaps we ourselves will emerge. And blossom. Stronger, wiser, more humble, more compassionate? Even transformed? Opening our own selves up to new possibilities. Like the crocus that emerges and reaches up and out to life. We may just get closer to fine.

Here goes...

©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gray skies. Blue.

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S

Side of a highway in France when the deep passionate gray of the sky was dancing with the glistening brilliance of sunshine creating the light effect that has had artists for years flocking to my favorite country, the motherland, France.

Okay... After finally demystifying the use of an 'e' or an 'a' in the word, gray ('A'merican spelling uses a; 'E'nglish spelling uses e). After having someone-derful in my life for two years now who makes my gray skies blue. And after stumbling across the beautiful talent of Eva Cassidy yesterday as I sought an image of rainy Paris...

...the clouds are breaking.

Spring is eighteen days away.

And the year is off to a good start.

This year I broke down my resolutions for 2011 into TWELVE separate ones. One for each month.

So far, the first two ones have been achieved. January, I completed a two-year project of writing and illustrating three children's books for my 2-yr old niece, Zoe. And February's resolution was to back up my Mac. Perhaps the February resolution wasn't as 'creative' as the writing and illustrating. But I pull and store a ton of stuff my Mac and lost an external drive last year. Inspiration, ideas, quotes, pics. That loss is not cheap to repair. And I believe the world is a crazy blend of the whimsical and the practical. We need to tend to both.

Little by little, this year is working it's way toward beautiful.

In my yard, green shoots from tulips are determined-ly shoving their way through the tough dirt. Little tender blades of fresh green grass are appearing in the yard.

I believe nature, life, us, and blogs... can have moments or long periods where we are just maintaining. Even gray days. Laying low. Hibernation? But I also believe that that's okay. I believe that patience and the down time pays off. Respect it. Because then, with some time,
and sometimes without warning. The clouds break. The skies turn blue.... and we blossom.

Get ready. Eighteen days till spring.
Laissez les bon temps rouler.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins
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