When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”~ Paul Coelho

"Some Mad Hope..."
A young and vital child knows no limit to his own will, and it is the only reality to him. It is not that he wants at the outset to fight other wills, but that they simply do not exist for him. Like the artist, he goes forth to the work of creation, gloriously alone.
Jane Harrison

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator
My art is a reflection of my effort to recognize and embrace the beauty in the world around me, even when it seems most difficult to find. Contact me at judiharz@aol.com or visit my website at http://www.judeharzerfineart.com

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"Most of us have two lives- the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance."Steven Pressfield

"The greatest freedoms are freedom from regret, freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, and freedom from sorrow."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, November 29, 2013

Project 365: Unexpected Challenges

Project 365 is progressing slowly. It seemed an exceptionally simple objective: to execute a single daily image of a child, given whatever time was available, using any medium. Start date: November 6th, my 50th birthday.

I have not abandoned this concept so early on in the process but have realized more than ever that factors such as real world occurrences above and beyond the typical demands of full time work, family and life in general, potentially impact time, energy and motivation in a way that is down right paralyzing. This goes without saying perhaps but my own deep-seated sense of inadequacy that conceived this basic project to purposely keep my ever wandering mind on track makes personal failure at something so seemingly “easy”, difficult to bear.

As of late, even putting a single stroke on a page seems uninteresting and laborious. My motivation has waned and yet I am scribbling my way through but not with the intended fervor that I had imagined. I am embarrassed by my inability to perform better.

The “real world occurrence”, without over dramatization or a laundry listing of the many heart wrenching details …was the hospitalization of my 73 year old mother two weeks prior to my project start date. In many ways it was expected… inevitable. I knew immediately that this would not have a positive outcome and that she would possibly never return to her home of 41 years. It was confirmed two weeks ago that indeed she will not. This has been excruciating for her to process on many levels, the most significant being that my 47 year old, mentally impaired brother who lived with her, will as a result, also be displaced.

The lives of my sister Beth and I have been consumed by the juggling act of the resulting upheaval. Beth is the strong and gracious one shouldering much of the precipitating burden. Near daily hospital visits and sharing custody of my brother who suffered trauma that caused extensive short term memory impairment 20 years ago, have become the norm. My Mom, coherent and depressed, reluctantly resigned herself to being situated in a convalescent home for the duration of her life. The care she requires is so incredibly extensive, that this seemed the only alternative. She knows this and was relocated this past Saturday to her new residence.

On Sunday morning, November 24th, she flatlined…coded…whatever the appropriate terminology. She was rushed to the nearest E.R. They responded efficiently and effectively, worked furiously to revive her unaware of the “Do not resuscitate” orders which had not yet been transferred from the rehab center to her new "home."

This week, she has been surrounded by family. She is awake without any recollection of her lapse into a permanent sleep or the resuscitation that followed. She is amazingly able to converse and respond quite well. However, her challenges are greater. She is unable to breathe independent of a Bi-pap ventilator. The trauma to her chest from the CPR caused physical damage and pain. Her body is retaining fluid. She is reliant on others to accommodate her basic needs. She is not ambulatory and is trapped in her own body.This is her current state of existence.

Along with my sister,while we are able,  we wait, feed her, talk with her, watch monitor levels rise and fall. I fail to imagine her pain and place. I asked her what she thinks during all of these hours immobilized and alone. “Life and death,” she emphatically stated. However, she does express hopefulness that she will recover but also how tired she is at trying.

I cannot remember why I paint at the moment. In comparison to real challenges, mine are ridiculously small...near non-existent and yet I do not move. I know this is a time to just be and accept events as they unfold.

Project 365: more to come….


  1. Jude I am so sorry! This must be such a trying time for you and your sister.If there is anything I can do to help please let me know. I have been going through some pretty hairy things myself the past few months so I understand completely.

  2. Dear Sandra, thank you for your kind words! We are waiting and taking this day by day. My brothers recently visited from Va. with my nephews which was good for her. On Thanksgiving, she was with 5 of her 6 children.More than anything I appreciate your moral support.Your cousin Lori has been an amazing friend throughout many challenging times. I hope you and Michael are well.If I can do anything please let me know. I think we should all get together. I intend to take the drive to see your new studio. Much love and gratitude! <3 My Mom's three favorite sayings in response to any difficulties were : 1) Life is easy as long as you don't weaken 2) This too shall pass and 3) One day at a time....they have become daily mantras for us all. Thank you again Sandra!


Jude, Art and Inspiration