My birthday was on Tuesday the 24th. I suppose birthdays are supposed to be a happy time but I felt kind of down. 

One of the things I’ve looked forward to on my birthdays since I found my birth family has been waiting to see what kind of card my Dad would come up with. Not to belittle the other cards I receive from people, because they are wonderful too, but my Dad wrote a kind of cowboy poetry that I always looked forward to receiving.

One of the cards he sent me said,

Happiest Birthday!
Dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
Work like your reputation in in judgment,
Live like you know there’s a hell.
Ride like there’ nobody watching,
And like you’re really expecting to win.
Don’t hold a grudge or try to get even,
I’ve done it and tried it too often,
And now I’ve learned to move on, I’m believing.
Care for the ones who don’t care
You’re better than that, and we all need a break.
Keep your word, don’t break a promise,
Your reputation, for sure, is at stake.
Rise in the morning, like the sun shining brightly.
The world won’t stop nor slow down just for you
There’s life to be lived.
Love, your other Dad

Granted, not all the lines may be original but the way he put them together and added his own words made these cards very special to me and to my brothers and sisters who received their own special birthday cards.

My Dad died last Thanksgiving from cancer. (You can read more about that in Horse Love and Genetics.) So there will be no more special birthday cards from him. Maybe just a new ritual of pulling out the old cards and rereading them. And remembering what a special place he holds in my heart.

I miss you Dad. 

Second round of layoffs today at work. The first round was in December, not that long ago. So far I’ve dodged the bullet.

Seems like the first thought the people who remain employed have in a layoff is “Thank God it wasn’t me.” And there is a huge sense of relief. 
However, that’s soon followed by a feeling of guilt for immediately thinking solely about yourself and for somehow being lucky enough to still have a job. 
And you feel sad about the loss of your coworkers, some who you know well and will miss, others you didn’t know that well, except that you assume they have a mortgage or rent to pay and perhaps kids to support and there are no jobs out there to be had. And you wonder what they are going to do.
Which leads you to wondering what you would do. Because if things don’t get any better soon, you could be next. And there it hangs over your head.
You have absolutely no control over the situation, but you try to figure out how you can control it anyway and you make yourself crazy with fear. 
You already had more work to do than could possibly be done by one person and now you’ll need to do even more. What if you can’t do it? The uncertainty and fear eats at you and doesn’t do a whole lot for your job performance or your health. 
So what’s a person to do?
I say, you try to see the beauty in the shit. 
Or something like that.

Really, I don’t know what you do. Especially if you are one of the people that lost your job. Me, I’m praying for all of us — those that lost their jobs already and those that are afraid of losing their jobs. 
And I’m trying to appreciate the good things in my life — my husband, my family, my animals, my job, that summer is on the way, and a bunch of other, well, you know… stuff. 
Sounds pollyannish but it’s all I can come up with right now.

About a year ago, I started drawing. It all started with this journaling group that meets once a month at a coffee shop, led by Lynn Fisher. When I saw the notice about the journaling group in a newsletter I thought, hmmm… I like to journal, but what exactly would a group of journalers do when they get together? I was curious.

What I didn’t realize is that the group was mainly for art journalers — I didn’t even understand what that was. I simply wrote in my journal, pretty much the same old complaining, whining, promises to do better tomorrow drivel, day-after-day.

I was thoroughly enamored with the artistic ways of these women but held no hopes that I could do the same sort of thing. But then I took a class with Roz Stendahl, who is amazing! I’m not even going to try and keep up with her. Roz taught a group of us how to make our own journals and some basic principles of drawing and painting.

Okay. So I still don’t know how to draw worth a darn. But what I’ve discovered is that drawing is like meditation for me. It forces me to slow down and notice things. My brain tends to operate like a pin ball machine, flinging thoughts this way and that way, some thoughts setting off bells and whistles and lights while others just end up in the gutter. But anyway, drawing stops all that chaos — at least for a little while.

And what came as a total surprise is that drawing is fun! Yeah, you have to struggle with all those voices in your head, telling you that you have no talent, this is a waste of time, blah, blah, blah. But if you can get past your inner critic, you start to remember what it was like when you first discovered crayons and pencils and the joy of making marks on paper. 

So the heck with being any good at drawing. I just look at it as:

A more interesting way of creating to do lists.

Of recording an interesting event.

Or recording the weather conditions.

Oh, and you don’t have to draw. Lots of art journalers paint, collage, or use photos. The main, thing is to take a moment to be still, and notice what’s going on in your life, right now. Actually, when you think about it, that’s what blogging is all about. But I do enjoy getting off my computer and putting a pen or pencil to good old fashioned paper…

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