Monday, July 1, 2013

Saints and Shrines

I guess you could say I've grown up around them, these tiny shrines, old chalk statues with candles at their base, roses and quiet spaces. My grandma had a few very simple ones in her bedroom. The one I remember most was her statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe that hung on the wall right next to her bed, just as it hangs on my Moms wall today.There was another one, on her nightstand with her Santo Nino(Infant of Prague) draped in her well used rosary. That one is in my home today.

 As I've mentioned before, I love tiny spaces and things to put things in. Having created many a matchbox nicho, mini gourd or pocketwatch case filled with tiny objects I'm drawn to these small creative spaces that have the power to evoke memory and spirit. 

This past week I was lucky to be able to take a wonderful trip to see my sweet friend in Huntsville AL. I hadn't been out there in more than five years, way too long. We filled our days with thrift store shopping, walks, and visits to all those little places she's told me about in letters, emails and texts. One of our favorite places,one we visit everytime I'm there, is a wonderful spot in Cullman, about 50 miles south of Huntsville, called the Ave Maria Grotto.  Located on the grounds of Saint Bernard Abbey, this Catholic monastery was founded in 1891. On the grounds of this magical place are 125 miniature reproductions of bibilcal scenes and famous buildings of the world. Brother Joseph Zoettl (1878-1961) first began his creations as a hobby, but as more and more people began to hear about and then come to visit the abbey and grotto he eventually produced more than 5000 small grottos. Many have been sold, but an awesome collection is here. Even though this is my fourth time visiting I always take pictures, and am continually inspired by these amazing works of art. I always leave wanting to rush home to fill my yard with miniature scenes, tiny shrines, and grottos. Here's a few of my favorite ones, but please know these pics hardly do them justice.

I love how he'd use everyday objects like cold cream jars, shells, marbles and broken jewelry to adorn his creations. He was truly reusing and recycling with found objects way before it was cool to do so! 

Noah's Ark

This is the main grotto and not in miniature at all.
It's built into a large cave,
which stands 27 ft high , 27 feet wide and 27 ft deep.
It bears the namesake of the grounds as
The Ave Maria Grotto.
Love the use of seashells and marbles here.

This is one of the very symetrical mosaic style

The Wayside Shrine


Love the use of painted filigrees

 Hansel and Gretel Visit the temple of the Fairies

Grotto of St. Theresa, "The Little Flower"
I made a few cards with a similar image I photographed in black
and white with my old school Canon a few years back on my first visit.
 It's still among my favorites.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Should it be a Resolution?

Been away from blogging for a while, but with the New Year upon us, I thought a little post was in order, perhaps to reconnect, or maybe just because sometimes I feel like my life can move along without me. Sounds crazy I know, but I'll try to explain. Often with kids in sports, working and creating when I can, it all seems to move so fast. I know down deep it's good and I honestly feel grateful that I'm currently at a place in my life that provides me with a lot of really cool things to do and be a part of. With my Mom living next store for a little over a year now, I feel blessed to have her so close, but I'm also reminded how good it is, to actually be busy. I know my Mom would love to be busy but her health prevents her from doing many of the things she'd love to be involved in. I   remember when my son first entered kindergarten, my friend's Mom told me that "once they started school it would all go so fast". Of course when you're in it, standing there at the gate, watching that little guy with his giant backpack round the corner out of view, I just worried about making it through that one day till pick up time. But my friend's Mom was right, it has gone fast... that "little guy" started High School this year and it's sort of unbelievable. My sweet Bella will be starting  Jr. High next year... also very strange to imagine. Anyhow, I guess every once in a while I need to stop and take a moment to realize all this. Maybe even more importantly, I  realize that these fast fleeting days may well be those days I look back to later. These could  be those good old days that people always speak spite of all their watching, waiting, and wishing for the next "big thing" to happen. I'm so forgetful sometimes, I forget all sorts of stuff, drives me crazy, but I don't want to forget these times. I want to be awake and mindful, present and really here while my life happens. I know this isn't new information, heck there's entire religions based on that whole idea. I guess for me right now it seems pressing for some reason. Up until now, there's been a multitude of both good and challenging moments that have come together to create, this big beautiful life that's mine. There have been changing events and people that have drifted in and out of my life. And I know this will continue to happen, it's just part of how it all goes.There have been relationships  that have been pushed and pulled till they nearly snapped, moments of wonder and discovery, but among it all are these small days, these little in- between the big stuff days, that I don't want to  forget either. To me, they're also life changing and somehow important in their mundane instances of rushing, or waiting, wishing and wanting. When I think of all the time that's already passed I'm daunted by it. I so don't want to wish away my days, I want to be more present and with more than a little fear of disaapointing only myself, I'm going to try.
Ernie & I on our honeymoon, not so long ago :)
I'll keep moving and do the best I can for the moment, I keep praying for us and keep remembering the Wishing Tree and do what I can right now, even if I feel it's not good enough, because it's what I can do, and I'm grateful for that.
Thanks for listening, Bridgette
P.S. If any of you out there with kids that are all grown up  have any insights for me about how to keep moving without missing all the important stuff, comment away :)  XO