Tag: legacy

Evidence Explained

Evidence 2017, Day 1

Inspired by my friend Judy Martin’s marking of time and dedication to her art, despite a full family life,
Inspired by my friend Jude Hill’s dedication to daily stitching and reflection, interwoven into her daily life,
Inspired by my new friend Kathleen Warren‘s mindful noticing of her surroundings and honoring of her creative process . . .

Evidence 2014

I revamp my abandoned 2014 attempt and a previous attempt at daily stitching that I can’t even find now into a version that will see me through to the champagne. I just know it will.

Evidence 2017, Day 2

Being an accomplishment-oriented girl, I like to track how I spend my life.

Evidence 2017, Day 3

I first ask myself: how do I want to fill my days, and the answer hasn’t changed significantly in the past 4 years:
stitching,
moving (as in moving my body through space – walking, yoga, exercise, etc),
writing,
mirthing (think: awe, wonder, laughing).
This year I add 2 things:
prospering (in every way a girl can prosper) and
connecting (as in with people, friends, family, strangers)

Evidence 2017, Day 4

Then I assign each a color. (There is a story behind each hue. I’ll tell you later.)
stitching
moving
writing
mirthing
prospering
connecting

Once that is decided, I make my way to the local thrift shop and purchase clothes in those colors to use as fabrics. Storied cloth, my favorite.

Evidence 2017, Day 5

I track everything in my handwritten journal, and each morning I look back at the day before, free-cut strips of fabric in the appropriate colors, then I turn my Improv Self loose to  stitch them together into a 6.5″ square block.

Evidence 2017, Day 6

The method of stitching the daily blocks will change each month. For January 2017, I’m using wedges – something I’ve long wanted to try my hand at, but never made the time to try. (Wait’ll you see what the daily blocks will look like next month.)

Evidence 2017, Day 7

You might ask (I know I did) Why is there not a color representing The 70273 Project? The answer: Because The 70273 Project touches every part of my life, and every verb I want to have in my every day touches The 70273 Project. Writing? Multiple writing projects each day are for The 70273 Project. (Know anybody who wants a guest blog post?) Stitching? I stitch several blocks each day for The 70273 Project. Moving? I move so I can keep up with The 70273 Project! Connecting? Oh good lord, such marvelous connections are made daily because of The 70273 Project. You get the picture. Right or wrong, there is no separation between The 70273 Project and me . . . something we’ll talk more about later.

 

Evidence 2017, Week 1

Each week will be stitched together, then each month, and finally . . . the year.

One thing that eludes me right now is how to finish the back. Ideas?

The Stanzas of Fatherhood

83OctTrainKippCarCar140 copy

From my daddy
(his granddaddy),
my son learned
that making space in his life to
pursue what captivates him
doesn’t make him selfish,
but instead makes him a better person
in every area of his life.
He learned resourcefulness, and
that it’s quite possible to make a good living
doing what you love.
He learned to honor the past.
contribute to your community,
the importance of family.
He learned roots.

AndyJimDec1998

From my father-in-law
(his paternal granddaddy)
my son learned perseverance, tenacity,
a can-do/will-do/just-you-watch-me attitude.
He learned that nothing – and I mean nothing –
can take you down unless you let it.

AJAK111978

From my husband
(his daddy),
my son learned loyalty,
fiscal responsibility,
logical thinking.
He learned to work hard enough
to have an impressive career,
but never so hard as to
miss out on family time and happenings.
He learned how to fix things,
how to plan for the future
how to treat women
– as well as other men – with respect.
He learned self-reliance and confidence.
He learned consideration for self and  others
and where to draw the line
to avoid abdication of self
which does nobody any good.
From his daddy,
my son learned humility, patience,
generosity and kindness.
He learned how to be a good husband
and a good dad.

KippCalderRay

My son, Kipp, is now a daddy himself,
and through him,
his son (my grandson),
will learn all the things
passed down through his
daddy’s male ancestors.
He will learn self reliance and kindness
confidence and loyalty
dependability and patience.
He will learn to tell the truth
even when it hurts,
(and, for purposes of entertaining,
how to lie convincingly).
(Wait – that might come from the maternal side of the table.)
He will learn love and curiosity
humor and responsibility
accountability and gratitude.
He will learn to
delight in the success of others
as much as he delights in his own.
He will learn how to make his family proud,
how to be a contributing member of society,
how to take good care of himself and others.
He will learn how to be A Good Man
and a Good Father.

AndyDCarCarKippThanksgiving1978 copy

This is what good fathers do, you know:
they take the best of their forefathers
and pass it on,
setting aside the inevitable not-so-good stuff
to leave it on the side of the road.
And in doing that, good fathers raise good men
who raise good men,
who raise good men,
making the world better
for men and women, boys and girls
for all of us.

ThreeGenerationsOfChambersGuys

Happy Father’s Day, y’all.

Relics or Legacy?

Orphanquilt8

I don’t know whose hands stitched this frayed beauty.
There is no name, no date, not even initials,
though there is definitely evidence of use,
and, as I choose to believe,
love.

Orphanquilt9

Now that I’m living squarely on the finite side of infinity,
I find myself wanting to create a tangible legacy
breadcrumbs
a way for the kids to remember me.

Orphanquilt10

Having had no career
having become no expert
having received no honors
or gold watches,
these little Hymns of Cloth I stitch
seem of vital importance.

To me.
Maybe not to my children, though.

Orphanquilt5

Making labels for each Hymn of Cloth
is on my list for 2015 anyway.

Just in case.

of legacies and living

Rinsecycle4d

The day came when she realized she was no longer just a limb . . .

Rinsecycle4dante

. . . now she was the tree

Rinsecycle4full

The Rinse Cycle 4
made from the back of a jacket that’s now finished

i get lost in the starts and stops of life. interruptions distract and derail me. i devour blog posts, magazine articles, and books that advise me to trust the process, trust the journey, just do what i love and everything will fall into perfectly minted alignment. but that’s all i do: read . . . then get lost some more. it seems to me that at this point in my life, i ought to be able to tell you what my life has been and is all about. but i can’t. is that because i was a career mother and caregiver? did my life get lost under everybody else’s?

doesn’t matter. i’m now the tree, so it’s up to me to decide how i’m going to live my life and what kind of legacy i’m going to leave.

one of the few things i know for sure: how you spend your days is how you spend your life, so i’m creating and practicing daily habits. it’s the only way, really. that’s why i keep my book of amazements to track how i spend my days, and that’s why i created the keepsake writing tribes. perhaps you’d like to join me? it’s gonna’ be three months of creative, productive, legacy-making fun. i promise.

///

my friend rhonda died this week. she had multiple sclerosis which, of course, made it difficult for her to do most anything, but she didn’t let it stop her. she went to graduate school, and she published the book that took her eons to write. she wouldn’t – she couldn’t – she didn’t – stop until it was done. she is a role model for us all.

just call me elf

Gifts

whether you’re a card-carrying member of the fabled 1% or not, you don’t have to spend a lot of money for presents this holiday season. you know that, right? we can’t keep spending money we don’t have. what you may not know or may not have thought about: when you give from your deepest creative self, you not only save money, you gift your self and the lucky recipient. it’s just one of those magical inexplicables – like writing every day doesn’t deplete your word pantry, in fact, just the opposite: the more you write, the more you have to write.

allow me to introduce the personal shopper member of the committee that is me. she loves to conjure fun, one-of-a-kind, inexpensive gifts . . .

WORDS

  • write love letters. give the recipient a tour of the real estate they own in your heart. don’t hold back – this is the gift that will keep on giving. every time they read it – and they’ll read it often cause they’ll keep it forever – will be a gift.
  • my grandmother canned food in green glass ball jars. she sweated in a hot kitchen all summer so we could eat well all winter. find an old jar and fill it with pieces of paper containing words that come to mind when you think of this person. trust me: they’ll feast year-round.
  • get a t-shirt, pajamas, scarf or any other wearable and grab some fabric markers then decorate the clothing with story kindling and punch lines of favorite memories.
  • know their shoe size? buy them a pair of plain white sneakers and decorate them with colorful words and phrases of love to lighten their step.
  • fill a blank journal with favorite quotes – yours and theirs.
  • do you owe someone an apology? write it out, attach it to a blackboard eraser, and deliver it.
  • cut a snowflake from folded paper and turn it into a gift by writing “like a snowflake, you’re one of a kind” or something similar that would melt a real frosty.
  • cut out words from magazines and instead of creating a ransom letter, create a you-are-special letter.
  • create a calendar of compliments by noting compliments in a calendar.
  • get your camera out and find things containing letters of the alphabet needed to spell out words that describe the recipient. (for example, the end of a swingset resembles a capital A – that kind of thing.) (have fun with this – remember: you can rotate and crop.)
  • STORIES

  • use your computer or camera to record your favorite stories about the recipient. ask others to participate by sharing their favorite story, then compile them into one album of love.
  • scan photos of the recipient and drop the digitized version into a document containing the story about the photo. OR keep the digitized copy for yourself and glue the original into an empty journal, penning the photo particulars (who, left to right; where; what they were/are doing; and any other details you can remember) to create a special album of memories.
  • do a little research on your computer and create a year-in-review book of things that are of interest to the giftee.
  • for loved ones, commit family legends to paper (digital or otherwise). add photos and maybe even genealogical information to create a family tree album.
  • fill a jar with questions written on slip of paper – things like “tell me about your childhood pets” and “tell me about your first job” and “what stories do you remember about your parents” and “of all the things you’ve done, what are you most proud of” and “tell me about your hobbies.” around the lid to the jar, tie ribbons on which is written several dates throughout the year when you’ll get together and listen to their answers to the questions you’ll draw from the jar. (oh, and you’ll probably want to take a tape recorder on those listening dates, too.)
  • TREASURES

  • have something you plan to leave them in your will? go ahead and give it to them. they’ll get to enjoy it longer, and you won’t have to dust it. oh, and be sure to include the provenance, telling where you obtained the item, how and when you used it, maybe even how much you paid for it – things that will tell the story about the item.
  • personally, i hate to cook, but i have it on good authority that not every is like that, so gather recipes and create a cookbook. have a section of perennial favorites and a section of new recipes for those who love adventure in the kitchen.
  • keep ’em warm and stylish: embellish an inexpensive scarf or wrap with words of love and mirth using needle and thread.
  • give them a bib, a fork and a calendar with particular dates circled and tell ’em not to make plans on those nights cause those are date nights when you’re cooking for them.
  • the shelf life of ink, day 14

    storm.jpg

    outside of checks
    and thank you notes,
    and invitations to the annual class reunion,
    my mother doesn’t write.

    she collects quotes
    written by others,
    though if she ponders
    why they appeal
    or how they apply
    to her own life and self,
    i don’t know about it.

    i, on the other hand,
    write.
    some days more copiously
    than others.
    take today, for instance,
    where my journal bleeds red
    to match my heart.

    the same journal that once was
    little more than an
    accounting of how i spent my time
    each day.
    now bears witness
    as i write what i would love to read.
    my honesty
    and deepest thoughts and feelings
    inked out on the page,
    my journal the only one i trust
    to receive and contain.

    then i read an admonition from phyllis theroux
    warning journal keepers to
    keep in mind that children
    might read one day’s entry as
    the undying truth
    without considering the context.
    and i feel the weighty responsibility.

    mark twain’s new 3-volume autobiography,
    is about to be released
    some 100 years after his death.
    why so long?
    he wanted the freedom to
    speak his truth
    without fear of
    his words harming his loved ones
    or driving wedges all around.

    and so i can’t help but wonder
    if i shouldn’t take the safe
    road again
    and go back to chronicling my comings and goings.
    do i really want to risk saddling
    my children
    with discovering the essential me
    through my words that accumulate
    as i discover
    the essential me?
    i want them to understand me,
    sure.
    to at least see me as a complex –
    perhaps even complicated –
    woman of layers,
    but what if i’m eternally
    misunderstood and despised instead?

    what if they never visit my grave
    to change out the flowers?

    maybe i should just amass a
    collection of quotes
    instead
    and let my chiclets
    assign meaning and likeness
    as they will.

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