Day 24: Phone Spam.

painting by Kevin Smith
painting by Kevin Smith

 

Yes, phone spam.

I’ve had it, I’ll say that up front, HAD IT with the incessant calls that come in early morning, midday, late at night. We’ve tried everything, including joining the national DO NOT CALL registry and still the calls come, all of them–I’m sure–legal through some tiny loophole.

For months we’ve hardly answered the landline we pay an arm and a leg to have. But that’s all changed, because as a part of my 30 Days of Fun (a rather deliciously wicked part, I admit) I’ve decided to make a game of it. Yup. Sport. Now when it rings I answer it straight away. Then before the hardly human voice on the other end of the line can hardly get a word out I say: May I please have your name and a number where I can call you back? There’s some stuttering and stammering, so I come in quick with my follow-up line of questioning about their process for making these telephone calls. The Voice can never answer, of course, because now it’s off script. So it either hangs up on me, or I get the opportunity to end the call with: So please put this number on your DO NOT CALL list.

Now that I think of it, I’m going to add, just for good measure:

I’m making a note of it on my FCC report.

It’s rather fun!

 

Find info about the Do Not Call registry here. Or call 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. It’s worth it, in spite of my frustration with the many loophole calls we get.

Thanks to my friend Kevin Smith for allowing me to use his fabulous Green Telephone painting. He exhibits at the wonderful Studio Carlisle in Columbia, SC. 

 

30 Days Of Fun III

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Day 20: My favorite Christmas Card, Ever

Even at 82, my mother spends months searching for the cutest, most unusual Christmas cards she can find. You always know when you see Posey’s handwriting on a December envelope—a happy smile is moments away.

And thus lie the roots of my commitment to the tradition, no doubt. No matter how busy I am, or how many late, late nights it requires, I hand address every one (in red or green ink~Mom again), write a note to those friends who are far away, and lovingly seal and Christmas-stamp each one.

I equally love receiving Christmas cards. Whether it’s a photo card that reminds me just how fast time is passing, or a beautiful illustration of the humble nativity, or a gorgeous graphic that makes me think I really should frame that one, I relish them all. I especially love holiday letters, now that I think of it, although I’ve never written one. Perhaps it is the storyteller in me that is fascinated to read of the goings-on in families near and far. How can it be that all our stories are so similar?

The mailbox, this weekend, was delightfully stuffed with holiday greetings. As I tore through the envelopes, this one filled my heart to overflowing.

the ultimate personalized Christmas greeting
lo, the star

A hand-painted card, on a tiny little canvas, from my friend and mentor-painter Kevin Smith.

What a glorious way to mark the coming of the Christ child.

30 Days of Joy

Day 7: In Which I Learn Something New

This time last year I decided to give oil painting a try. So I wrangled a friend I thought would be interested, signed up for a class at City Art, then invested more money in a starter set of paints, brushes and canvases than I thought was fiscally possible.

Turns out it was all part of a larger plan. Because whether or not I had any talent, I was so deeply invested in the hobby after that first class I had to keep painting. And that taught me a thing or two:

1. It is a very good thing to step out of your comfort zone from time to time. I remember climbing those steps at City Art every week with the thought running through my head “I have no idea what I am doing.” And I was right. I didn’t have a clue about even the technical aspects of oil painting, much less the artistic ones.

2. It is a very good thing to exercise a new part of your brain. For me, simply holding a big paint brush and learning to use different strokes was like learning to walk, or ride a bike, or eat with chop sticks. I could feel parts of my brain stretching as I concentrated on How do I physically do this?

3. It is a very good thing to confront a fear head-on. If you’ve never known terror, strap a big blank canvas to a French Easel and approach it with a loaded paint brush. Your heart will race; your hands will shake; your knees may well buckle. It is terrifying. But my friend Kevin Smith, who is a very good painter, pushed me forward with this advice:

Focus on completing a painting in one session. Use big brushes and big strokes and fill up the canvas. Don’t worry about anything else; just complete it.

It was the perfect advice for me, a perfectionist who never finishes anything. Complete liberation.

4. It’s a very good thing to realize that you don’t have to be exceptional at something to enjoy it. I’ve created some really awful artwork. But I’ve also finished two or three paintings that I kind of love. And I know I’ll keep painting simply because I enjoy the process of painting. For now, for me, that is enough.

proof God loves us and wants us to try new things

My sweet husband hung one of my paintings on a wall in our house. I see it every morning as I walk down the hall from the bedroom to the kitchen. Here’s what I thought when I passed by that Big Sky today:

Isn’t it wonderful that the world is filled with new things to learn, every single day?

30 Days of Grace