Monumental Tasks

Every winter we have the problem that students get the sniffles and we rarely have a generous supply of tissues.  This year I organized a grade level challenge where each grade level planned to build a large-sized sculpture in our gymnasium out of kleenex boxes!  By the end of an hour-long build, the students had constructed a Christmas tree, a Sphinx and a Castle, each built out approximately 450 boxes of tissue!  After the event, 125 boxes of tissue went back with each homeroom class. 
As you know, my digital camera broke at my last attempt to take photographs at the hand clinic.  As a result, I have not been able to capture any of the ‘magical’ events that have taken place for well over a month.  Today I borrowed a camera from our industrial arts lab and as a result, without knowledge of settings, took the above series of photos in my Grade Nine art class.   The students have been using collage, drawing and painting techniques to emphasize the theme "BIG" in their compositions.  These were inspired by the Italy journeys that I shared with my daughter this past summer.  I told the students that one of the most amazing things about the journey was being more aware of the scale of things.
I’m very excited by the students’ works, but will post more appropriate photographs next week when I borrow the camera again, but find a setting that does not carry the handle, DISCO!  I will also try to collect some photos of our BIG sculptures in the gym.

Looking for Words

I’m looking for words this morning.  It’s a Saturday morning and I’ve set my alarm for 6:30 so that I have time to wear my flexion splint for 45 minutes and so that I can do a thorough job on my digit exercises.  When a person adds this regimen three times to their day, it can become a wee bit dicey what you might really be able to accomplish.  While wearing the flexion splint there can be no food prep, writing, painting, schoolwork or activity of any sort.  I’m writing at this hour simply because I’ve taken my night-long straightening splint off and I’m giving the digit a breath.  The wonderful news to report is that this morning my ring finger is touching the keyboard….must be from the major amounts of mobility accomplished yesterday and well into the evening, given that it’s assessment and report card weekend!   Regardless, this is a celebration of sorts.  I can almost wring a washcloth….still a great deal of pain, but I am getting the engagement of it.  I can’t turn a doorknob yet, but I can touch it with my entire hand.  The digit is improving, but by wee teeny bits….and this is to be celebrated.
My hero of the week was a beautiful woman suffering from Stenosing Tenosynovitis of all of the flexor tendons in her fingers.  This means that every one of her fingers was dealing with the issues of my single finger!  She had just had surgery to repair two fingers of her dominant hand and is re-teaching them to move.  The thing that amazed me was what courage she had…how determined she was as she heated up her fingers in preparation for physio and how beautiful she was.  A woman in her sixties, her smile brought a glow to the room.  I was left feeling more determined and more appreciative.
Yes!  I know!  It seems that my huge world has shrunk up into a small world built upon the tip of a single finger…but truly, it has NOT!  In fact, I would have to say that my world had become larger.  How?  Well…every single thing I have done since returning home from Italy has been intentional…thought out…approached carefully.  My life has slowed down.  The things that I have done at my work place have all taken longer and so I notice more.  I tend to let go of far more than I would have in the past….the tub that is dirty, the leaves that need to be raked…I wait…I gather strength….I break the job into three parts.  I think that when ones life slows down, it becomes HUGE!  At night I am more tired because it feels like every day was a stretch.
I painted last weekend on one of my Covenant pieces in the studio and finally Dr. Heat has installed my air exchange so that the winter painting (and I WILL paint) will be healthier!  On the painting, I used large strokes, but also spent about an hour working on fine motor stuff.  I did a bit of weeping as I painted, more for the sheer joy of engaging the process of painting than anything.  I ache for total engagement.
I now have two classes of children who come to my studio once per week to learn to draw and paint and sculpt.  This was a wonderful decision and while it is a busy time in the Chapel, it is an energy-packed time.   This is something I will do more of when I retire!  I regret that I can not show you all pictures because I am still sans camera.
I’m training in karate every Monday night….a very modified program….knife hand position on the right hand at all times and with a full straight splint….but none-the-less, it keeps my mind engaged and gets me moving!
My students at school this year are amazing…particularly my eager art students!  Oh my!  I love it when I see them come around the corner!  Such amazing energy and such a desire to learn and explore.  It is a tremendous thing that I am a part of!
Finally….and my time typing has been maxed out here….I want to say just how beautiful this world of ours is!  I’ve begun to take my old man Laurie-dog for an evening-time run-about (the boy scout run) each day after school….something to get the endorphins moving.  The other night, the sky was so absolutely amazing that my whole body shuddered.  God has this way of making my heart melt when I am discouraged.  He has this awesome way of filling up my empty parts and giving me light and love and magic.  And for that I am so grateful.