Monday, February 18, 2013

Gobsmacked by Love

Greetings, Blogland!  How's tricks?

Things in HoCo have been hoppin'!  ...and through the simple forgetfulness of yours truly, today ended up being a 'blogging day!'  Yes, I knew it was President's Day.  But, here in NC, it is no longer a State holiday.  It is still a Federal holiday, so the bank and P.O. were C-L-O-S-E-D :-\  *I found this out, while being the productive little elf that I am, and heading out to take care of some 'bidness' today -- only to discover that those with whom I needed to interact were all away*  Ahhh...  an unexpected pocket o' time!  Perfect for getting back in the swing of things, here, eh?

I think so, too!

I mentioned, back in January, that some pretty sizable changes were taking place in my little corner.  While the ramifications of those changes are still being discovered (and explored, and reveled in, etc., etc.), the biggest thing *in the moment* was the capital-A-Amazing gift/tribute that I received that night!  ...and while much blog-worthy 'stuff' has happened in the time between that night and today, I just couldn't move onto all of that until I found a way to get my mind wrapped around the powerful beauty of this:
The Book
Way back in October, totally unbeknownst to me, the fabulous MDP *my intrepid co-leader of the CMMAG* contacted the membership of the Guild to invite them to take part in a special project -- a book for ME (!?)  She supplied them with a list of some of my favorite things ("bees, bookmaking, good wine, great friends, monkeys, chickens, Joseph Cornell assemblages, pirates, daisies, metal, good novels, ECU, and an abiding love of all things CMMAG"), and what happened next was pure MAGIC!  Right under my nose *literally -- in the midst of our Year End Wrap Up/Christmas Party in December,* her little helpers collected the works of my fellow guild-mates.  In January, as I stepped down after two terms (4 years) as President, they presented me with The Book.  

Overflowing with memories, thanks, and amazing artwork!
Well, first there was a very moving 'speech' *a la Open Letter* from our esteemed Founder, the incredible JR.  As she read her most generous thoughts to the assembled group, MDP sidles up alongside me with a box of tissues *they know me too well!* -- and it wasn't long until I needed them!  ...and before she got to the end of her letter, JR needed them too (!)  There was applause and hugging (and sniffling, and laughing); I thanked everyone for their input/support -- I have said for years that without them all of those good ideas meant nothing -- it really does 'take a village!'  Then I resumed my seat, figuring we would get on with the rest of the meeting.  "But wait," exclaimed MDP, our newly elected President "there's more!"  No kidding, I said "Oh, Lord!" while reaching for a fresh tissue!  In spite of having put together just such a 'secret project' only two years ago for JR (commemorating the 10th anniversary of the CMMAG), I was blown away at them having done so for me!
Powerful Words
Here was this gorgeous tome -- full of shared memories, notes of thanks, amazing artwork, and chock full o' sweetness!  ...for ME (!)  Even trying to tell you now, gentle reader, how overwhelming it was brings tears to my eyes.  I am not down playing the work, time, and effort that I put forth during the course of my tenure as President; I'll tell you -- there were times I nearly pulled my hair out!?  But, seriously, I approached this like I do any other commitment:  with every intention of doing the best job I am capable of doing.  Were there things I could have done better?  Probably...  The love and appreciation housed within this treasure trove more than make up for the times when I wondered "What was I thinking?"

My membership in this group has been much like getting a ticket to a foreign land!  Every month, we come together to learn, share, and grow as artists and crafts-people -- nurturing one another and the community that supports and sustains us.  I have never experienced anything like it before!  I have made some of the most incredible friends, had some wicked good times, and learned many things about myself in the process.  I guess the most mind-boggling part of their recognition is that I already felt 'compensated' for my efforts -- by our successes, our ongoing growth, and our strengthening bonds within (and beyond) our circle.  Just after the first of the year, I acknowledged that I am sometimes haunted by old voices and the messages that they deliver.  I now have the ultimate remedy for those blue days!  The Book is capable of chasing away any negativity seeking residence!  It occupies pride of place in my living room, and is enjoyed regularly.  I am sure that there are little secrets I have not yet discovered -- I'll find them all, no worries ;-)

As much as I would like to share ALL of it with you, I am highlighting just a bit of the wonderment contained within The Book.  *...a girl can't share everything!

My Ode - a la MDP
*You must tell me!  Has anyone ever written you a song?
A Crossword Puzzle from JR
*The Man and I marveled mightily over this, the night The Book came home!*
Another pleasant *yet no less amazing* surprise:  they're still coming!?  At last weeks meeting, I received more pages and sweet thoughts -- I look forward to enjoying them as they arrive, and for many years to come!
Still coming in!
Oddly enough *and in the serendipitous way that such things happen* I stumbled across the perfect sentiment, just today -- to sum up my speechlessness over this amazing gift:
A Simple Truth
That, my friends, says all that I cannot!  *yeah, yeah; I know that there are some who think I am never at a loss for words.  Just goes to show ya'!* This simple thought is the best summary of why I love this Guild -- just as they are all of this to me, they are all of this for everyone who signs on to be a part of our community.  I suppose it is merely human nature to have doubt(s)...  

What a splendid gift to have such a 'crew!'  With all of my heart, I thank the members of the CMMAG (past and present)!  Thank you for your generous spirits, your 'can do' attitudes, your willingness to try new things *and be wildly amazing*, your beautiful support of one another (and me), and your belief in the power of Community.  I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for us -- and if the first two months of this year are any indication, we ain't seen nothin' yet!

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

p.s. -- fast forward to last week:  The Man surprised me in a major way!  A dozen roses and bottle of very nice Malbec for Valentine's Day :-o I have humbly said before:  Lucky am I!

Words of wisdom for today:
"Everybody needs his memories.
They keep the wolf of insignificance
from the door."
                                      - Saul Bellow
Photo Notes:
   All photos with Nikon D5100 - using AF-S Nikor 55-200 lens (cropping and out of camera adjustments using IrfanView)
   "A Simple Truth" came my way via Facebook - the quote was not attributed.

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them* 

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