Year One…

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Dale Rogerson

Wc: 99

Year One:

The weather outside wasn’t frightful as Christmas Eve rolled around. Downright warm, no snow… no rain, even. It was our first year on the ship that would be our home until Terra Firma was livable again, so we better get used to the change.

‘I don’t know, Tatie, it just doesn’t seem like Christmas at all.’ Oleg sighed. ‘Not like back in the homeland.’

‘We’ll make the best of it, Ollie. Look, see the kids, they’ve got us a tree. We’ll decorate it. It will seem like Christmas then.’ Tatiana tried to comfort her husband.

‘Year One…’ He sighed.

Author’s Note: Happy New Year! L’Chaim to ALL! May the new year bring you a basket full of blessings! My knee is doing much better, though still a bit of a limp. I’ve tossed the disgusting stick to the bottom of the stairs (still using it there). Hubby had a breakthrough Grand Mall seizure Dec 26, but is back to his normal self… crazy! LOL! It’s is rainy here with falling temps.

Christmas…

It was a “weird” year this year, Christmas wise… On Christmas Eve, we attended services where we lit the Advent candle. Afterwards, we came home and hit the hay early. A week of very long -mandatory overtime – days left us exhausted. Leahmae, however, had no qualms in making sure we were up at 0600 Christmas morning. She pawed and kneaded, and nuzzled her way between us, sniffed eyeballs, nostrils, and ears until we finally had to respond to her. The little imp. We got her a new bed and a special toy (just like the one she’s worn out), and wouldn’t ya know, she’s had more fun with the paper.

So, Leahmae fed, watered, and cuddled it was time to do the giftings. It was a meager year, what with all that’s happened with paycuts and car issues. So, we each got a sweatshirt. Hubby got replacement jeans for his delapidated ones.

Being dutiful, we called inlaws to wish them a merry Christmas. It was obvious that MIL was drunk. We rolled our eyes. What did we expect??? Family was there with them and they were having a gay old time (We were not invited). Then, to add injury to the insult, MIL in no uncertain terms told us that they didn’t have a phone and not to try to call back. HUH??? You’re talking to us on the phone, so how??? Anyway, after hanging up, Hubby says “Well, that’s that… we aren’t part of the fam anymore. I won’t be calling back.” Friends, you should have seen the raw pain in his eyes. It broke my heart. I wanted to weep for him. We hugged and he said “It’s just you and mean against the world… again. Thank God we have a church family that cares and loves us.”

As usual, I didn’t get my Christmas until the 26th, when Hubby said let’s go tot he art store… how could I refuse, eh????So, off to the store we went… I drooled and drooled over the Utrecht “Urban Sketching” kit. At $49.50, though, I just couldn’t justify the expense. Seriously couldn’t. So, I read the can’s contents… Hmm, I have more than enough pencils -Check, I have watercolor pencils & pen – check, I have charcoal pencils, vines – check. I thought I had the Sepia and Sanguine charcoal pencils…wasn’t sure. Oh, and the white paint pen – definitely not. So, I picked up 4 pencils. Didn’t have the paint pens. Got a replacement for my #8 Micronta…. Less than $15. A done deal. Then, we slowly made our way down to the lower level (My wrenched knee is getting better, but steps are still difficult) where Half-Price Books is. Let me just say, I love HPB (Half Price Books)! I can always find “something there. And so, I did. I found a copy of Danny Gregory’s “An Illustrated Life” that I had heard about in the Sketchbook Skool’s YT videos. It was on clearance, so a mere $3. Wow! I snatched that bad boy up, lickety split.

And so, that was Christmas in our little bend in the river. Sigh…

Shrine to Resilience

c. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

A shrine to resilience, that’s what it was. Above ground, their world lay in ruin. Houses scattered for miles like so many toothpicks, fields covered in was once hot and ready to pour in effort to meet the Christmas demand. But, here below, the shrine to humanities resolve lay pleasantly chilled.

I pulled a bottle off the shelf. There weren’t any groceries left to feed the people. So, I say, let them drink the wine. At least for a few hours they won’t care that their life is forever altered….

Author’s Note: Continue in prayers for our neighbors in Southwest Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, etc. as tornadoes have ravaged the land and the people. The destruction is vast, the hope is endless! I am pleased that my friend and mentor is alive and well, as is his family. Their home took a little damage, but is salvageable. God is GOOD! ALL the time! Amen! It is hard, though, to see the little ones so worried that Santa won’t come to them.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Our beloved hostess, Rochelle!

Scrap Happy -Down for the count…

Borrowed from google images

I’m down for the count. I was getting things ready to take south to the disaster area when I mis-stepped and my bad knee decided to do it’s thing. Kneecap decided to change it’s position much to the disgruntlement of the tendons that have been redesigned to prevent such an event from happening. Resulting in a slew of words that I’m sure destroyed my reputation with the minister and others. Grrr…. but D* it hurt! Always does. Anyway, the only solution save an entire joint replacement (which I am NOT going to do) is to immobilize and practice RICE for a few days.

In the meantime, I will not be going south. With this knee as it is I would be more of a liability than a help. So, I’m staying home. I’ll be praying for those who’ve gone, and of course for the people who are suffering so much this week. It’s not all a loss, I’ve decided to sit it out with stitching in my lap, and knitting beside the chair. There’s always a need for blankets, hats, mittens, and such for charity, eh? Not exactly what I planned to be doing. bummer for that.

I just popped out to Kate’s blog ( https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/12/12/dreaming-of-a-pink-christmas/) and found a little bit o’ inspiration. Now, I have a reason to crawl up the stairs (trust me, it’s easier than using the cane to do it), drag the machine outa the box, and see about some fast sewing. I like her idea of a Christmas tree wall quilt. Annnd, I think I might have enough left over jelly roll strips from last year’s quilting adventure to make a small quilted tree myself. Ought to be good for a few hours of fun, at least.

Anyway, that’s where I am this week. I’ve not been scrapping here lately. I’ve been re-discovering my art. I had to put my art up for a while due to not being able to get certain specific supplies (namely 2B graphite sticks) that I use to create a ground to draw upon. Pandemic woes. Anyway, I was able to get some sticks. I had to buy an entire kit to do it, but at least it was on sale. So, my arting “go-kit” is back up and running. I am working one another of my “Least of These” series.

He’s still many, many hours from completion, that’s for sure. For those who don’t know the story behind the series… It started with a Lenten study a few years ago that dealt with many social issues including homelessness, addiction, abuse, etc. The leader brought in pictures printed from online resources. At that time, I was considering that I needed to learn to draw humans that looked like humans. So, I asked if I might have the pictures to “play” with. I still have a few pictures left from that time. I’ve also found that many came through pixabay.com, a free photo source that I’ve since found invaluable.

So, this homeless veteran is such an inspiration. I work on these portraits during my morning prayer/meditation time. With each stroke or blend, I’m thinking about what we do “do to” those that are considered the least in society. This time of year, when it’s cold and just plain miserable for so many, the prayer is even deeper in meaning.

Here’s another that I did for that series…( below)… I was reading a book about a tightrope walker in a circus, and one of the phrases she used quite often was “Not my circus, not my monkey…” This phrase stuck with me at that time, so when I was surfing and saw this monkey picture, I just had to draw it into my sketcher.

I hope that everyone has a blessed Christmas. Remember those who are suffering and rebuilding their lives (I’m thinking of those in the tornado ravaged areas ). Be kind to one another, and remember that the holiday isn’t about wordly treasures, but IS about the most wonderful gift we’ve ever received… eternal life, through Christ!

Merry Christ – mass. I wish you JOY and PEACE… and most of all HOPE!

Shalom, Bear

If you’d like to visit other Happy Scrappers, then please feel free to explore the links below:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther

Not much…

I stood in front of the old dilapidated garage. Home…for the foreseeable future. It’s not much, I’ll be the first to admit. But for now, it will do. How it had ever managed to survive is beyond me.

Yesterday’s storm had left it’s path of destruction right through our housing development. Our newly built wonder… a pile of toothpicks and rubble. Our possessions strewn for miles. Yet, by the grace of God, we survived unharmed. I closed my eyes and breathed a prayer of hope.

Author’s note: Last night strong storms rolled through. Monette, Arkansas was hit by a tornado, and a nursing home was destroyed. A mixed prayer of praise there. One life was lost… it could have been many. Here in Kentucky, a few hundred miles south and west of us, the town of Mayfield is waking to losses beyond imagining. Already, the news is reporting that there could be deaths over a hundred. A candle factory was demolished with 110 workers inside, many still unaccounted for as I watch the sun break through the heavy clouds. My heart is heavy with prayers and tears. Our old and much beloved minister transferred to the area to be closer to his family a few years ago. We wait to hear if they’re okay.

Sorry I’m so late this week. We had a death in the inlaw side of the family, plus a family holiday gathering. I got very ill while there and so had to be driven home. I finally have been reconnected with my car… then I ditched it in the ice. UGH! It’s been one of those “bear” weeks.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Copyright – Claire Fuller

Pearl Harbor: Never Forgotten…

My humble honor to ALL who served at Pearl Harbor, and the war that it brought to our shores.

My own memory… I remember the day that I found the old, faded and brittle slips of paper in my Gran’s Bible. I remember asking her what they were. She told me to open one and read it. I did. Then, I sat there in shock and awe. I was holding a telegram announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then, Gran shared her story about being a courier at the base during the war and being entrusted with delivering that very telegram to the Base Commander.

Oh, what a solemn service that must have been. She spoke of the terror of that morning. A simple Sunday morning, people rising early to get to church, or duty stations, completely unaware of the horror that was was about to unfold before their eyes. Gran spoke of how the Commander shared the telegram with her, told her to keep a copy as it was history. At 16, when my Gran shared that with me, I understood the significance of that piece of paper.She told me to keep it, and I suggested that maybe it would be best if we donated it to the museum. We did. And every year, we would go and visit it.

The last time I was at the museum, it was not longer on display. A part of my heart was saddened by that. But, times change, and history is slowly forgotten. Now, I think back to the morning of 9-11, and I understand her story far too well. I will never forget that day or the weeks that followed, much as my Gran never forgot her very small, but important role that awful morning.

So, I’m not sure why this year of all years I’m feeling rather nostalgic about it all. I’ve never drawn the memorial before, either. It was just a quick sketch, but I’m thinking about making a larger piece with a small vignette of the memorial surrounded by the smoke of a soldier’s last cigarette. I’ve heard the story from a survivor about his catching a smoke completely unawares until the first bomb fell. That story, and the one who shared it made an impression on me even at a young age.

Blessings to all Survivors of the Attack, and of the subsequent war. Our country can never truly repay you for your sacrifices…..

Shalom to us all… Bear

Draw With Me- Sketchbook Skool Style

Today, I tried something new. I visited Youtube and caught the live “Draw With Me: Beatles” from Sketchbook Skool ( https://youtu.be/yEKNxK8C2I8 ). It was a unique and fun experience. First time I’ve ever done anything of the sort.

That said, I apologize to the Beatles for this rendition. Drawing people “out of the air” is not typically something that I do. That said, I decided to give it a try. Very cartoony, and a bit “alien” but at least they resemble humans. At least, I hope that they do.

Tried out some new brush markers, threw my typical mind to detail out the window, and just ran with the markers. Think I ended up with more on my hands than on the paper. hehe! Anyway, this was about 20 minutes or so of drawing.

Thank you to the folks at Sketchbook Skool, and to Danny for today’s fun!

Post Script: This i s why I don’t usually use markers… The bleed through effect destroyed the sketch before the Beatles.

WIP – Sketch

Pic from Pixabay.com

About 5 or so years ago, I participated in a Lenten study that focused on social issues. The key verse to the study was: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, 45, NIV) . Only the study changed one word… and that one word made ALL the difference. Instead of saying what we did “for” the least of these, the word was changed to what we did “to” the least of these. It was a great study that showed how society ignores, neglects, abuses, etc the poorest of the poor, the homeless, the addict, the child, the animal, etc.

At each session, the leader would lay out a handful of photos. As I looked at the photos each week, I was very moved by them. Then, I got to thinking that I’d like to do something with them. So, I asked the leader if I could have them after the study. They agreed. And so I toted them home and stared at them for a few days. Then, I thought that I’d like to art them up somehow. That led me back to my love of art.

At first, I was terrified. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t draw them. They were people. I couldn’t draw people! There was no way under the heavens that I could ever draw people. Then, I was out surfing youtube and came across tons of vids of people doing just that. It was inspiring, so I decided to give it a go.

The first one I drew was a homeless veteran. It took me 128 hours to complete the final portrait. I’m not even going to mention how many pages I cut out of my sketcher and pitched in the garbage. Suffice it to say that I had to purchase a new sketcher. I did this first one with only a #2HB pencil… one of those yellow automatic ones by Papermate. I love them for writing and always have one or more handy. I found them soft enough for blending, too. A plus!

Still, I was utterly frustrated. I couldn’t get the darks dark enough, nor the detail detailed enough. I was grumbling and unhappy, though Hubby and my online friends were impressed. So, Hubby suggests that I get an “engineer’s pencil”. He took me to the art store and explained to them what I needed. I came home with a nice little art “kit” to work with. Then, it was back out to youtube for more video watching and practice. The second portrait took 29 hours… and had much more detail. I was HOOKED!

Soon, I began to work my way down through the stack of photos. It’s been close to 5 years, now, and I’ve still got a few left. I’ve labeled them as my “Least” series. Not for sale, but I will share them with friends, always with the caviat of where the idea originated. I have to say that it has sparked many a convo about social injustices. It’s also inspired many a short fiction write, a long fiction write, and a couple of novels.

Who would have guessed that a simple little 4 week bible study would become such a deeply felt and inspirational part of my life. Now, I often go out to pixabay and surf pictures looking for faces, places, things that reach out to me and help me to tell a story through my art about life… the life that many try not to see or acknowledge. For those that do know my own life story, you know how deeply I do understand the harshness revealed in the faces, places, things that I chose to art up.

And so, to my present WIP… another homeless man…. He may be frowning, but I sense a hidden joy within. Perhaps he is watching children play, or a sport game. Maybe he’s just thankful to have survived the night. Either way, this picture calls to me to art it up, and so I am…

Photo ref: Pixabay.com

I have 2 hours into him so far. And I realized as I began to shade his ballcap that I had strayed from my typical modus operandi. Usually, I lay down a cloud of graphite and work out from there. Oops on my part… but not really. It’s causing me to really focus and concentrate even more on shading, and that is a good thing. At the moment, he’s “listening”…. something we all need to do, eh?

I’ve also just finished a quick little sketch from one of the Lenten photos… It brought me a chuckle. Reminded me of the saying “a monkey on your back”… and also the phrase “Not my Circus, not my Monkey” which appeared in a book I just read. I just simply enjoyed creating this monkey looking at itself in a car mirror. I hope you enjoy it as well.