Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Walking The Labyrinth - Part Three - Hospital Art

With Parents who had children later in life, and being from a large family, from an early age hospital visits were normal for my sister and me.  When we were little, we spent a lot of time in waiting rooms and gift shops.  We read book after book, colored like crazy, watched the candy-stripers with interest, and were fascinated by the tiny cans of Campbell's Soup that they served at South Side Hospital in Pittsburgh.

As my parents aged, a good portion of our life was also spent at various hospitals.  Through the years, we began to notice a shift in the artwork that was featured in the halls of hospitals everywhere.  Early days found blueprints of facilities, formal portraits of middle aged white men, photos of ribbon cuttings, and award plaques aplenty.  These were replaced with generic prints, and eventually original artwork and art installations.

At Saint Francis Hospital in New Castle, after numerous visits, my sister shared that she was captivated by one of the drawings in the hall.  It was a limited edition pencil sketch of Mother Theresa.  The Internet was in its infancy at the time, and I used it to track down the Boardman, Ohio Artist, Phyllis Beard.  I contacted her; she invited me to her home studio; and I purchased one of the prints for my sister.  Phyllis was lovely!  Visiting her gave me my first glimpse at a "real" artist's studio, and she generously shared several other pieces with me during our time together.  

At First Health of The Carolinas, our regional hospital in Pinehurst, North Carolina, there is a limited but lovely selection of original art.  In the lobby of The Cancer Center, one particular piece draws me back again and again each time that I visit.  This piece provided comfort and hope as Ken was recovering from his heart attack at a mere 38 years old, and it continues to touch my heart as we return with my Mother for various reasons.

Each time I approach this masterpiece, I first take in its full scope.  It's a huge piece, filling the best part of an entire wall.

From Mountain to Sea, it encompasses the beauty of Nature in North Carolina.

As I draw near, I pause for a moment of gratitude for the artists who created it, and the folks who had the foresight to install it in its perfect place.

I step back, and admire the piece section by section. 

Then I pause at its center, and look both ways.  For some reason, I don't like to begin this Labyrinth walk of mine in the company of others.  Once I've begun, company doesn't seem to bother me.  When the coast is clear, I begin to walk this Labyrinth with my finger, first from the outside in, with a pause in its center for a brief prayer.  Then I walk it from the inside out in quiet reflection.

My walk complete, I spend a few minutes with the tiny details of this piece that often go unnoticed, and I resolve to do the same more often in my daily life.

Inevitably I leave this Labyrinth a little more peaceful, a little more centered, and better for the experience.

One more installment of my Labyrinth Series will follow soon.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Walking The Labyrinth - Part Two - My Musings At The Sandy Edmiston Labyrinth

Can you see it?  Underneath the bench in the center.
At The Sandy Edmiston Labyrinth at The Westminster College Field Station , underneath the stone bench at its center, you'll find what appears to be an ordinary plastic shoebox.  Inside, there are several pens, a bible, and a journal where walkers add their own heartfelt messages.

When I walk, I look forward to spending quiet time with the contents of the box.  I open the Bible to read the random passage that's being revealed to me; I peruse the journal, and allow myself to be touched and amused by its contents; and I add a sentiment to the journal myself.

A special read.
Get your own copy from
Books to Be Red!
During my walk last June, I also read a bit from Ann Ehrinhaus' new book, Ten Thousand Breakfasts.  Ann's earlier book, Ocracoke Portrait is one of my favorites, and her new book has found a special place in my heart as well.

In the quiet that followed this little ritual, I was also compelled to write a bit more.  It happened in a Moment of Grace, and the words came through me rather than from me.  

My thoughts from that day follow:

June 4, 2014
The Labyrinth at Westminster College

Destination in sight.
It's farther than it looks.
One path.
Only one path.
Always the right path.
The right path at the right time for me.
My dreams are within reach.
And then I turn.
It seems that I'm getting farther away from them, 
as they are now at my back.
Have faith in the journey.
Each step taking me closer to my destiny.
Each step is my destiny.
Birds Singing.
The smell of fresh cut grass.
Shoots working their way through stone.
Pebbles crunching under my feet.
The journey is long.
before I know it, 
I have arrived.
My walk complete.
For now.
Rested and rejuvenated.
I begin again.

Eyes on my path.
Eyes on the horizon.
Either way
The heart knows
what it knows.

But not alone.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Walking The Labyrinth - Part One - The Sandy Edmiston Labyrinth at Westminster College

Since before I can remember, and before I began to understand the concept of The Labyrinth, Labyrinth-like symbolism found its way into my artwork.  
I walked my first Labyrinth, a memorial to Sandy Edmiston, at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, with family and friends and our dogs.  It's a day that I'll always remember.

I've returned to this Labyrinth to walk in silence many times since.  It's a sentimental favorite for me, and today I'll share it with you in pictures that were taken during my walk in May 2014. 


I thought that it would be fitting to allow these photos to speak for themselves.  In my next post, I'll share a bit about my personal walks here and what they mean to me.

To learn more about this magical place, please click here. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Have Tools Will Travel!

Between the hospital, rehab, and the doctor’s office, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the go with my Mom lately.  I generally pack for these adventures as if I’ll be away for a weekend, with my purse, laptop, a good book, and a variety of other “necessities” that could make me a winner on Lets Make a Deal.  In kindness to my back, I’ve been trying to lighten my load.

This was my brainstorm today, and I think it's a winner. Who knew that a quart jar would be the perfect size for my components, a roll of wire, pliers, and flush cutters?!?!

This is my idea of successful canning!