The Cycle of Life

Do you ever think about the cycle of life? 

I do. There are 12 Developmental Stages in the human life cycle. I’m in Stage 8, early adulthood. While my grandma is in Stage 12 death and dying. 

Those in our lives who are dying, or who have died, teach us about the value of living.  They remind us not to take our lives for granted, but to live each moment of life to its fullest, and to remember that our own small lives form of a part of a greater whole.  – Dr. Armstrong

That’s one reason why I’m so interested in the banal and just living a simple life. Because living in the moment is one of the best ways to fully experience the whole cycle of life. And we don’t have to wait ’till we’re dying to figure that out. 

Genesis 1-3 is so interesting to me, but I feel like there’s so much more to the story. So, I read it again and again hoping to get some more understanding about our creation. 

Tempted by Peer Pressure

That day in the garden when Eve was deceived by the crafty serpent and led herself and her man astray, that’s the day we were cut off from the tree of life. We had access to it and every other tree in the garden…except for that one tree…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And Adam wasn’t man enough to get control over his woman when she didn’t stand up to that serpent. 

Was she even listening to God when he told her how to handle the trees? When the serpent asked her “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” She just carried on a conversation with the deceptive dude and he was much more clever. 

Instead of clarifying what God really said, she said something about not eating or even touching the tree in the middle or you’ll die. That answer right there opened the door for the serpent to beguile her. Why didn’t she just say, “Well, let’s just go ask God what He said.”?

Matthew 4 shows a good example of how to respond when being asked about what God really said.

Shame and Fear

Then when God asked them about it, they hid from Him, they lied, they made excuses, and they played the blame game. 

We were not ready for the responsibility of that kind of wisdom gained from knowledge of good and evil. Maybe one day we would have been but not yet. And now we’re stuck in a constant battle of good vs evil. In everyday life, in movies and in books. In everything.

Gustave Doré  Adam and Eve Driven out of Eden
engraving 1865

There’s some crazy stuff in the Bible, like some of the creatures God created. He cut us off from accessing the tree of life by placing cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth. I’m assuming we’ll get access again one day, I dunno.

And I guess that’s why we have this fleeting cycle of life. We go through the aging process and die and return to the ground from where we came. And while we go through the aging process, I guess our society decided to make some bank.

Like Eve, I’m also drawn to wisdom. I think it looks pleasing too.

Wisdom

My grandma was telling me about how she’s had a hard life but she loved it. She said if you can learn, then you can do anything. As a child, the doctors told her she’d never walk. That she would need surgery. And as a young adult they said she’d be in a wheelchair by the time she was 40. Well, she’s 83 and never had surgery and never used a wheelchair. 

Doctors don’t know shit. They apparently have a very low opinion of what humans can accomplish.

She was also talking about her husband and how he’s the only man she ever wanted. They met on a blind date and he didn’t want some floozy. He wanted a good girl who was feisty and could handle a wild guy like him. And that’s what he got. They had one of those story book romance loves. They definitely had struggles, but it was true love. 

And she told me she wouldn’t change one thing.

I think that’s beautiful and we should all try to live our lives with this attitude. So, maybe we are stuck living in a fleeting life but there’s so much living to do in that natural cycle of life. Even in my grandma’s dying days, her state of mind is to live each day she’s alive. 

Trusting God Even During a Nightmare

Ok, as I sit here writing this I’m thinking that I’m just a big ‘ole baby. I want to come up with some well written and moving prose about how my situation is an unbearable nightmare and I can’t believe that God would ever treat my family this way. 

But how selfish can I be? I’m not homeless. I’m not hungry. I do live without some things that I need but for the most part I live in abundance. 

I’m so sorry that I panicked and just jumped online to beg for help. I’ve seen so many people raise money for a never ending amount of needs around the world, so I thought that’s how God wanted to provide for us. And I’m not one to ask for help. I hate asking for help. But I saw my grandma suffering and I just lost my mind and resorted to exploitation.  

I’ve been so proud of my grandma through all of this though. I’m usually so hard on her looking like some mean bully expecting her to do things for herself instead of coddling her. But this is why. At least she was still walking and she could use the bathroom on her own. She could prepare her own food and do the things she wanted to do. But thanks to the harm done while in the care of the medical community, she is now trapped. 

But again, I’m proud of my grandma. Through this whole experience she has continued to have faith in God. She keeps saying that we need to trust God…that God is in charge…that he’s our boss. And she’s right. Even when I complain and tell my boyfriend that God hates us, I know that’s not true. I know God loves us and He’s taking care of us even during such a dark time. 

I think it’s even more important to trust God during the hard times.

When I’m not bad mouthing Him, I’m saying the same things. I trust God and I’ll just accept His will no matter how bad it is. He’s the same God who allows free American’s to be executed in the streets for petty crimes (or no crime at all) by our police. He’s the same God who allows people to get sick from diseases and covid everyday. The same God who allows people to be so desperate to escape their situation that they will cross the border in dangerous ways to find any kind of refuge they can. 

That’s what life is like on our planet ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God and we’ve had to suffer and toil. 

This whole situation is especially hard to deal with since I live in the moment. And these moments I’m living right now are some of the worst moments of my life. But I feel so happy and blessed to be able to show my grandma love during this time. She knows she has family she can trust who love her. And love never fails. It always perseveres.

If anyone reading this is also going through a nightmare, I hope that my experience can provide some kind of encouragement to help you get through it a little easier. 

Thanksgiving Questionnaire

My art is all about living in the moment . . . Truly experiencing the world around me and having an attitude of gratitude . . . Something we put a big focus on at Thanksgiving, but it’s something we should be doing everyday.

This is my 100th post and I didn’t know what artwork I wanted to talk about so I thought I’d share a little bit about myself. My name is Morgana. I’m from East Texas. I’m a very private person so answering questions about myself like this is pretty rare.

A Lil’ Questionnaire

If you could thank one person (living or dead) for his or her influence on your life, who would you thank?

~ I’ll go for a dead relative . . . my grandpa. He bought our property and built the house that I live in. Even though he died when I was two, the lessons of love and striving to be the best you can be, influenced my parents (and myself) in a way that I’ll always be grateful for.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned this year?

~ My most valuable lesson has been to be a peace maker. Regardless of how hard it can be at times, I always feel better at the end of the day when I was patient and peaceful with the people in my life.

What are three things that always make you smile?

~ My dog, Sunny. My boyfriend, Jesse. And doing what I can to be good to my parents.

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

~ The memories, for sure. I love the way the weather feels. The smell of the food. And lately, since I’ve been organizing all my photos, I’ve looked at a lot of images from Thanksgiving. And even if there are some bad memories in there, I just love how I feel when I remember all those little moments.

What random acts of kindness have you received this year?

~ Just one. I was cutting some tree branches for my grandma and her neighbor noticed and came over to help.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?

~ It’s so hard to choose a favorite. But I’ll go with the variety of food I’ve tasted. I’ve had Thanksgiving meals with many different people: German, Spanish, Thai, Trailer Trash . . . And my fondest memory would have to be the smell of delicious Thai food.

What made you laugh the hardest this past year?

~ Definitely Jesse. He’s a joker. Everything he says and does makes me laugh.

What is one thing you would like to accomplish in the coming year?

~ I want to learn to sew. I can sew. But I haven’t gotten good at it and really embraced learning to make my own wardrobe.

Who is the most grateful person you know?

~ She’s not a person, but my dog sure does show gratitude.

What book, article, or blog post are you most grateful for this year?

~ ALL of MY blog POSTS! 😂 I’m so grateful to everyone who visits my blog and takes a look at my artwork. I just wanna strive to improve on it and provide stuff that people will enjoy.

What do you appreciate about the change in seasons?

~ I love the cool crisp air and the colors of the changing leaves.

What is one thing you really love to do as a family?

~ Just being with them. Healthy and comfortable and just being in the moment appreciating the life God has given us.

What is the biggest struggle in your life right now?

~ The pressure of having to juggle way too many things. It can get pretty overwhelming at times.

How do you stay focused on gratitude throughout the year?

~ I can’t help but live in a state of gratitude for everything God has provided for me. Even the bad stuff. I’m just hard wired to see the value in what I have. One way I stay focused on it is to be sure I actually show appreciation to the people I’m so grateful for.

Which of your qualities make you a good friend?

~ I’m genuine. I truly want my friends to have the best life they can and I just do my part by being genuine and sincere.

What song or poem sums up your life over the past year?

~ Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas . . . Ok, so there’s a million songs to choose from . . . The only reason I’m choosing this song is because Supernatural just ended and now that song makes me cry 😭

What is the best compliment you’ve been given this last year?

~ From Jesse . . . he actually sees how strong I am and points it out. He thinks I’m a good woman who deserves to be treated with love and kindness.

What is your favorite food to eat on Thanksgiving?

~ The rolls. They’re so warm and delicious and I always make room for them.

What is your favorite pie?

~ Pecan Pie.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

~ These two movies I have recorded on VHS. 1. The Christmas List with Mimi Rogers. 2. The Second Day of Christmas with Mark Ruffalo. They’re both really sweet movies.

What is your most embarrassing Thanksgiving moment?

~ When I was 15, I was at my uncle’s and I was playing some game with my cousins (D&D lol) and I kept digging into the leftover Broccoli Rice Casserole. I wasn’t paying any attention and I accidentally got a piece of foil on my fork and choked on it and got food all over my chest. My cousin thought that was the funniest thing, but it was pretty embarrassing that I was scarfing and didn’t notice the foil.

Well that’s it. I used some of the questions from this site.

I have three questions for you . . .

1. What’s your favorite pie?

2. What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

3. What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Snoopy – Schulz

Quick Pics 18-27 – A Fishing Trip

Welcome to my 4th installment of Quick Pics coming straight to you from the backroads of East Texas. I was headed to go fishing with my family friends, and what I like most about these pictures is how they show that we were truly just enjoying the moment. That feeling of letting the cool breeze hit your face while riding down the beautiful road with people you care about.

Quick Pic 18 – Juxtapose

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I love how the leaves take over the ground and the trees.

 

Camera Setting: Cross Process

I named this photo Juxtapose, because the lines created by the trees, fence, and the frame of the window are running perpendicular to each other, which creates an interesting and balanced image.

Juxtapose: to place (different things) side by side (as to compare them or contrast them or to create an interesting effect)

When I’m taking pictures from inside the car, I like to sometimes include the car to let the viewer know where I’m shooting from. In this case, the car helps :

  • to frame the image
  • to mimic the lines of the fence
  • and to add more horizontal lines, which juxtapose to the vertical lines

Quick Pic 19 – Down Country Roads

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Camera Setting: Normal

I was really wanting to take pictures but there wasn’t anything grabbing my interest. So, I was just playing around with the zoom and snapped this blurry view of the road winding in front of us.

Quick Pic 20 – Memories, Old and New

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Camera Setting: I don’t remember and I can’t tell . . . My guess is Cross Process.

Still playing with the zoom, I managed to capture a bright burst of sunlight over my friend’s shoulder. She was wearing a Blake Shelton concert shirt and telling a story about when she was a kid and her parent’s would take them down these backroads picking buckets and buckets of blackberries.

Quick Pic 21 – Which Way Should We Go?

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Camera Setting: Cross Process

We weren’t catching any fish at Lake Nac, so we got back in the truck and drove around looking for a better spot. When I snapped this pic, we were trying to decide if we should go left or right. I love the way the sun is shining on the ground in the distance.

Quick Pic 22 and 23 – Untitled

Camera Setting: Toy Camera

The wind was too strong here so we just circled the parking lot and left. I liked how the sun was glistening off the water and the ramp.

Quick Pic 24 – A Church

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Camera Setting: Cross Process

We have 100’s of historical churches in this area. We also have 100’s of historical cemeteries . . . many of them were the subjects of photo projects I did in college. At the time, I thought about doing a series on churches, but I guess I never got around to it.

I didn’t like how the image looked when my camera was horizontal so I tilted it quickly and snapped. I think it’s a pretty cool pic.

Quick Pic 25 – Ugh, Teenagers

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Camera Setting: Cross Process

I was mostly taking pictures on the right side, so I shoved my camera in front of my friend on my left, and he thought it’d be a good idea to try and block my lens with his hand.

Quick Pic 26 – Untitled

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Camera Setting: I can’t tell if this is Cross Process, or the Miniature Effect.

I took this while we were crossing a tiny bridge. I really like how the reflection of the trees look, and the blurriness around the edges. I love this picture. It’s my favorite quick pic of the day.

Quick Pic 27 – Fallen Tree

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Camera Setting: Normal

I noticed this scene when we went down this road the first time but the 70 mph speed limit was too fast for me. We headed back down this road, and this time I had my camera ready. I thought I missed it again until I was looking at the pics on my laptop.

I’ve seen a lot of fallen tree scenes like this all over, and I think it would look better if I used a DSLR and got out and got closer. Quick pic didn’t do this scene justice but I was happy that I did capture it, when I thought that I didn’t.

Sooo . . . Did We Catch Any Fish??

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Not a “quick Pic”

Camera Setting: Cross Process

We finally found a good looking spot under a bridge where we caught one large blue catfish and a couple of small fish that we threw back.We laughed so hard trying to walk on the slippery mud.

I had a couple of pictures that are left untitled . . . I just couldn’t think of a good name. Anyone out there good at naming photos? If anyone thinks of something, I’d love to hear your ideas.

I hope you enjoyed these quick pics as much as I enjoyed taking them.

 

What Is The Ghost of Xmas Past?

I don’t have much time to live in the past when I’m living in the moment. Growing up, I hated to watch the older people in my life cry in their beer over the past and whine about how much today sucks. I didn’t understand . . . especially since I was standing right there.

Don’t get me wrong, I love remembering the past. I live in the house my grandpa built. I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know him since he died when I was almost 2, but I love hearing my parent’s memories of him. I’m living on his property in the house that he built when my mom was a teenager, so that his family would always have a home. It’s a great way to remember something we don’t have anymore.

Feeling Nostalgic

Most of my memories are vivid because I was living in the moment and actively storing them in my heart and in my memory banks. I wanted to fully experience it right then and always remember it. And I often go back in my mind and re-experience those moments and it’s awesome.

I’ve never actually longed to go back, or felt such a strong sense of loss that I desired a time machine. BUT these past couple of months I have been haunted by strange feelings of nostalgia. It’s not that awesome. Or is it? 

Nostalgia – a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.

Like when a child becomes a teenager. It’s beautiful to watch and see who they’re becoming, but at the same time I experience loss because I’ll never be able to be with him as a little child anymore.

To be able to hold him and watch him experience everything for the first time. I can go back anytime and experience my vivid memories and photos/videos but now, in the moment that time is gone forever.

nostalgia-2

I recently heard from a friend I haven’t seen in 9 years. We’ve known each other for 22 years and she sent me a picture of her wearing these xmas earrings I made for her in the 6th grade. I had completely forgotten about them until I saw them in that pic and they triggered so many memories that I haven’t thought of in a long time. 

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The earrings 

Photos and Memories

It made me wonder about these moments we experience and the effect photography has on them. Some people say that you’re not really living in the moment when you’re so concerned about taking a picture. It’s possible to do both. I’ve managed to photograph moments with my camera and my mind . . . and sometimes photos will trigger memories so strongly that it becomes easier to remember.

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Rd Trip through Louisiana

What about in psychology where studies show that memories aren’t really that accurate? Humans tend to remember the past better than it actually was. Or what about when memories have been tainted by time and discussion?

Maybe that’s why they cry in their beer and long for that old relationship or wish their children were young again. Maybe the changes or lack of changes a person has made, creates a rift in relationships and makes you feel an unreasonable longing for the past.

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Box of Photos

I guess a healthy dose of nostalgia isn’t so bad. The passage of time exists and we gotta embrace it and enjoy it. Like that Doris Day song says, Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be.

ghost of past

Disney Version

If we fully embrace the good, the bad, the neutral, the everyday we can experience life in it’s rawest and purest form. How about you . . . are you being haunted by the ghost of xmas past? Maybe it’s not a ghost at all . . . maybe it’s just a little bit of wisdom about life.

Just Breathe – Willie and Lukas Nelson

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For a few weeks YouTube has been suggesting this Willie and Lukas Nelson cover so persistently I finally gave it a listen. I kept scrolling past it cuz I just wasn’t in a Willie mood but I’m really glad I finally got so curious that I had to click on it.

Willie and his son harmonize so well together. I loved the scenes of them singing together in the bar. I couldn’t help but think of my own Dad, who I’m blessed to know. Then I started thinking of everyone else in my life that I feel so blessed to know.

Then these lyrics stood out reminding me of the ones I miss who unfortunately aren’t in my life anymore . . . or at least for a short time I hope.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh if I didn’t, I’m a fool you see
No one knows this more than me

Read more: Pearl Jam – Just Breathe Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Life seems long but we really have such a short time with the people we love to enjoy the world God has given us. I think it’s important that we live in the moment and really enjoy our time with our loved ones. Don’t waste time fighting about silly stuff. Just be there for each other in the good times and bad times, cuz Love Never Fails.

Check out this behind the scenes video of them talking about their family being together while working on this beautiful song.

This song was actually written by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Here they are performing at Austin City Limits in 2009.  Listen for the violin . . . it’s so pretty and complements his voice nicely.

Both versions are touching and beautiful so I hope you check them out. Don’t just scroll past them like me . . . the Internet might not choose to be as pushy with you on this particular song.