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Write Now

Write now
Before the tide of joy subsides
Before the voice recedes because you choose
Not to believe
Stop making excuses
Just for ten lines
Make believe
that you are of a unique wonderful weave
knitted in secret, in the deep places of your cells
and render true words that make light
of fear and self-rejection and the tender sad way of lethargy
Right now just write
before you say goodnight
and may the dreams you dream speak speedily
of love and hope and danger
on the other side of excuse
you have nothing to lose

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Four Weeks in Florence

I’ve moved to Italy!

Well…not exactly, but Ben, Baby Aaron and myself have rented an apartment in Firenze for the month of March 2012, and I’m currently writing from there.  For the next 30 days or so I’ll be working through a new blog: Four Weeks in Florence.  Please do check it out and sign up to “follow” via email if you’d like to get regular updates.

Ciao!

What Color is Love Today?

There is something about the quality of sunlight in this part of the world that fascinates me.  I think it has something to do with the combination of being 33˚ N (the same Latitude as Casablanca), a fairly dry climate, and right next to the Pacific Ocean.  Perhaps these factors converge to give the landscape a certain luminosity I’ve not experienced in many other places I’ve traveled.   A 1914 art magazine described this region as a plein air painter’s “Land of Heart’s Desire.”

In any case I found today so lyrical in the way light was dancing on all sorts of things, from the most ordinary household pipe to the brushstrokes on Lisa Rainey’s painting in our living room.  It was like the Creator’s blush of joy over all that He has made.  So although this will not do it justice, I offer the following as a fleeting glance of appreciation at the Color of Love in my world today:

Love in the Afternoon

It rained yesterday.  A real rain.  Not the half-hearted drizzle Southern California sometimes mistakes for rain, but the rat-a-tap-tap pour down on your tin roof kind of rain.  By afternoon, it had cleared up enough to reveal a glorious sunset between the palm trees.  But still, the cozy feeling of a rainy day persisted.  And by afternoon, I was in love.

In love with the easy comfort of home.  In love with the cute little piles of debris: baby rattle here, pacifier there, fabulously unmade bed, Melita coffee filter with its fragrant grounds, stash of watercolors and pencils, left over butternut squash lasagna with its vibrant orange color.  In the middle of it all was my son, laying on a blanket on his tummy, propped up on his forearms.  He’s building up the strength to roll over soon – a milestone often reached at 3-4 months.  He looked so adorable, little tushie and little legs, struggling to keep his head and shoulders off the floor.  And when he started to tire from the exertion and cry, I picked him up and we danced, and danced.  On the rainy day, to the tune of flamenco guitar by Ottmar Liebert.

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Farewell to my Convertible

Caitlin Orr and Her New Set of Wheels

It’s interesting how a car can symbolize an era in our lives.  This is definitely true of my hunter-green Mazda Miata, which I passed along to a new owner this past Saturday.

The car represented a brief yet expansive period of my life: newly married, driving my hot wheels to increasingly professional and well-compensated work, working in the field I’d trained for (I studied arts education at Harvard), and scooting off to wherever I needed to go whenever I wanted.

But now I’m a stay-at-home Mamma and the Miata is definitely not the appropriate car.  To save money Ben and I have decided to share his car, which means most of the time I ain’t got no wheels at all!  The good part is that where I used to be stuck with an ugly freeway commute, I now have the luxury of walking everywhere, and we live in a beautiful area.  It’s hard to put a price tag on the value of strolling down a sunny sidewalk on my way to Peet’s coffee at 11am.  But still, I’m going to miss that convertible.  Sigh.

The car has great vibes.  It was an indescribable gift to me from one of my very best friends.  Yes, a gift (who gives someone a sporty convertible?).  Colleen drove it for years and when it came time for her to buy a new car, she decided to give me her Miata.  That convertible was a continuous reminder of the goodness of God expressed through the generosity of a best friend.

When I first met Caitlin (26, gutsy, smart, beautiful and without a car), well, I just had this hunch.  She’s gonna be the one.  When the time comes, I want to give my car to her.

So here goes.  Farewell to the miracle car – one that I didn’t earn and cannot sell – and farewell to my late twenties (I know, it’s been three years already, but symbolically…).  Farewell to my life without kids.

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My Delight Meter is in the Red

My mom coined this phrase several years ago on a trip she’d organized in Tuscany.   There were about 8 of us, mostly fellow students from the Laguna College of Art and Design where my mom was pursing her BFA.  Although I was not a student, I loved hanging with this brilliant cadre of artists.  Overlooking the undulating hills studded with olive trees and vineyards, we were sharing a bottle of Chianti and breathing in the pure air when she famously declared “my delight meter is in the red!”

Mom says it’s her translation of St. Ignatius’ idea of consolation versus desolation.  According to Ignatius, we have this kind of spiritual thermometer inside us.  It is our task to tune in.  If something feels delightful, pure, good and true, it is what he calls “consolation” and we should pursue it.  If something feels bad, wrong, impure, oppressive, it is the opposite force: desolation.  We should flee the latter while increasingly running after the former.

Last week I spent a day in Laguna Beach where my mom lives and while the baby slept I went for a walk.  Later that day the fabulous Alli Tosti came by with her two kids.  No question: my delight meter was in the red.

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Sle-e-ep in Heav-en-ly Peace

A week or so before Christmas I was pondering my purpose in life.  I was disappointed with the reality that no matter how hard I try to be efficient, I just can’t seem to get much done besides being Mamma.  Some days, just getting a load of laundry completely through, or getting the dishes from table to dishwasher feels heroic.  The interruptions of baby Aaron are frequent and imperative.  Not that I’m complaining.  Being a mother trumps any experience or achievement real or imagined in my life so far.  Just holding him is a sweet reward.  Yet I persist in wavering between pure surrender to the fleeting moments of motherhood and the voice of the self-critic that says I’m not doing enough to validate my freedom, my time, my education, etc. etc.

So, while nursing the wee babe I decided to journal.  I figured by asking the question: “what am I supposed to be doing with my time right now” the answer would manifest.  I wanted to search the Scriptures for answers, but my Bible is unwieldy.  Too big for balancing with the baby on my lap, especially when he’s focused on his all-important task of eating.  Meanwhile the good hormones released by breastfeeding had begun to work a marvelous calm in me.  When Aaron finished eating I decided to lay him down on my bed and sleep next to him for 15 minutes or so.  My face was right next to the baby, so we were looking eye to eye, so focused I could see my own reflection in the blue-black of his iris and pupil.

We both fought sleep in order to keep staring, but it was a losing battle.  Aaron succumbed first.  Sleep washed over him like a soft wave and I admired how his wide lids and long lashes are so perfectly formed.  Cheeks full and flushed with life.  Lips slightly open.  I could feel cool air on my face and looked up thinking it was the ceiling fan, but the fan was off.  It was the breath from baby’s nostrils.  And then he reached with his hand, still so hard for him to control, and it landed like a gentle smack across my nose.  Palm to Palm is holy palmer’s kiss (Romeo & Juliet, Act 1 scene 5).  Smack to the nose is baby Aaron’s kiss.

I got to thinking the intimacy between us as mother and son was so seasonally appropriate.  The image of Madonna and Child–an icon of Christmas–is kind of an ordinary event.  A portrait of a woman holding her child and contemplating the mystery and the miracle of his life.  For us as women it is also an expression of Emmanuel.  Just as the Spirit hovered over Mary, God-is-with-us, dignifying, sancifying and blessing our everyday acts of love toward our children and other family members.  Mary had prophesied over herself: “henceforth all generations shall call me blessed“; I believe she was also symbolically prophesying over all womankind.  We too are blessed to be agents of heavenly peace.   We carry this Peace when we welcome the love of God for us and within us, allowing that Love to spill over into the lives of the people around us.

Thank You Aaron, for being my son.  Thank You Jesus, for coming as a helpless baby.  Thank You Father, for sending Him to us in this way and affirming forever the dignity of every mother’s work.  Thank You for the blessing of this sacred time in my life, when I am called to contemplate the peaceful face of an infant and even to see through his tender eyes a new image of myself.  Thank You for this beautiful portion of Heavenly Peace.

 

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Like Father Like Son

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Beginning

Welcome to What Color is Love?, a place where I explore themes like Art, Creativity, Love, Marriage and Motherhood.  I write from the perspective of an artist, traveler, poet, educator, wife and new mom and I invite you to journey with me.   My goal is to inspire you with fresh vision for a colorful, creative life that nourishes your inner artist as well as your most precious relationships.

May your work/life environment begin to bloom with the color of Love!

Sincerely,

Rebecca Anna Faubion