Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Personal Timeline

So I feel it's important to share my history because it shapes who I am and what kind of art I  produce.

Even though this particular blog only goes back as far as 2013, I have actually been on blogger since probably sometime in 2007 or 2008. I used to be very passionate about my blog. It was my release. I could share all the good, the bad and the ugly with the world. (HI, MY NAME IS JENNIFER AND I AM AN OVER-SHARER (hi Jennifer)) Anyway, my writing style was noticed by an editor who took a liking to it. She became my mentor and I wrote for her for a while in an online magazine. Up until she asked me to sign an agreement releasing all of my essays to her. Well the problem with that is what I write is personal, I write from my heart, it's what I do best.  When I write generically, I just don't connect with the piece the way I want to.  Probably the reason I will never make a living as a writer.  Then again, maybe there are people out there who will connect with my realness and help me out with that.  Who knows. OK, so I was saying...I've been doing this online journaling for a long time although not consistently since 2009.

2009 - Birth of my first grandchild!!! YAY! I was a young grandma!  I was only 37 when my first grand was born and the chaos ensued shortly thereafter. My oldest grandson is one of my greatest blessings.  There was a lot of craziness though as my daughter and her baby daddy broke up and yeah, as I explained in a previous post, the custody battle put a cramp in my blogging style.

2010 - Major financial shakeup! We lost our business and in the process lost our home to foreclosure. At the time, I was devastated and thought it was the worst thing in the world. Let me tell you, no thanks to the collections at chase bank, they pushed me to what I feel was a nervous breakdown. They even called my neighbor whom I barely know to give me messages!!!  WAY TOO FAR! At this time we were also going through an audit from the IRS because our wonderful accountant had failed to pay our unemployment taxes. A very trying time indeed.

2011 - Two daughters got married 5 months apart. We also welcomed our first granddaughter this year.

2012 - We finally claimed bankruptcy and started to heal financially. We welcomed our second grandson.

2013 -We welcomed two more granddaughters 6 months apart.

OK, so the reason I mention all the grandchildren is because they are a huge part of my life, I went from being a stay at home mom, to being a stay at home grandma, which effects my time in big ways. And when my time is affected, it affects my ability to produce art and to write. So I decided to creat this blog to try and sort myself out.  I was still trying to get my head wrapped around our financial loss.

2014 - Welcome EMPTY NEST!  Well, I would have loved to welcome the empty nest, only, it really wasn't that great.  It came at a huge price.  My only son, my youngest child, decided to marry a women three weeks after he met her and she is the perfect picture of crazy.  No, I am not being THAT mother-in-law.  If I retold you the entirety of the past three years, you would understand. Two weeks after they married, he left for basic training with the Air Force and she showed her true colors when she called in to where he was doing basic and asked where his check was.  Enter the next phase of coping with loss. It took me until March of 2016 to come to terms with the mess my son has gotten himself into. Still not happy about it, but I have learned to live with it.

2016 - My younger daughter got divorced and her and her 4 children moved in with us about 3 months after I had come to terms with my sons situation.  This was a huge shakeup as I had to pack up my crafting room. I moved as much as I could into storage totes and had them packed into my bedroom. I just could not get it into my head and heart to put it all away, sewing was too much of who I am. It was an adjustment in many ways. My daughter was in a depression from her divorce and I found myself for lack of a better way to put it, a new full time parent again!  Just as a side note, I am in perimenopause during all of this as well.

2017 - On January 3rd of this year, I became close and personal friends (frenemies) with what true loss tastes like, feels like, sounds like, smells like, you name it, I get it.  My 4 year old grandson, the youngest grandson died suddenly and unexpectedly on this day. And it hurts my heart and heals my heart to share this. I would love to be able to tell you exactly what happened and why.  But the sickening truth is, the cause of death is unknown.  They call it SUDC, Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood.  The best way they can describe it is SIDS but in older children.  Believe it or not, this can happen to any age child, but it's more common (as rare as it is) for this to happen in his age range. It's only been about 4 1/2 months, we are all doing well considering.  But we also have three other children we must carry on for. Maybe from an outsiders view it doesn't seem like we are a family in mourning. The truth is, how is one "supposed" to act when handling grief? For me personally, I have run right into the arms of our true Father, God. He has given me strength I never knew I was capable of. And honestly, I believe all of the loss over these past 10 years has been a building up for this moment.

 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8  This has become my consolation.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5 This has become my mantra.

OK, so now that you have an idea of what has been going in in my little piece of the world, now I will tell you how this has influenced my art.

Just before my youngest grandson passed away, an idea had started taking shape in my brain. I had this fabulous material with biblical quotes all over it and I wanted to use it somehow. I had been dabbling with mixed media art for maybe the past 6 months or so and I decided to make some art using this cloth. Two days after I made that piece, he passed away.  After the initial shock wore down (I won't say off because in a lot of ways, I am still in shock that this has happened), I needed a creative outlet, I could not really sew , even though I had my machine set up in my room, it was just not conducive to what I needed. So I turned to paper crafts. I found a lot of peace in cutting, gluing, painting and stitching materials together and calling it art. It was desperately needed therapy for my soul.

This brings me to now and what I am doing in the craft room. And it brings me to focusing on what is important. I want to write and I want to sew and I want to do paper, who says I can't do it all!

As I move away from my phone and into my actual camera, I will post pictures of the things I have been working on.  It's been an adventure and I am ready once again to open myself up and share my life, love and lessons with everyone. 

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