Aug 31, 2013

Paint Flows

"Gladiola in Profile", Oil on canvas, Lisa Moreland
Paint flows from brush to canvas. 
Delight springs 
from the glossy trail of color
as eye and hand collaborate to compose form. 
Deep in the brain 
synapse sing 
with the mysterious energy of being creative. 
Satisfaction rises from my soul. 
Dismissed aptitude,
neglected modes of expression 
and unfold 
like a saturated seed 
each time paint streams from the brush.
Lisa Moreland 

"Those things that mark our creativity - 
our sensual awareness, imaginative thinking, and manual skills - 
are God given tools in our task of cultivating the earth...and...simply for our delight."  
Art & Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts
Hilary Brand & Adrienne Chaplin, P. 46

Aug 30, 2013

Summer's End, August Learning

August, its a milestone month. 
The final warmth of summer in some regions; 
the final weeks of vacation too. 
The last vestiges of free schedules, sandals, lingering morning coffee by the pool. 
Even we bloggers feel the shift in season and time as the writing glances back at summer's inspiration before stepping into themes for the season ahead. 
In that over-my-shoulder glance, I've noted some things I've learned  like...

Bold summer nail color is way fun... 
(specifically Unfor-greta-bly Blue from OPI)

... then I can link up with Chatting at the Sky 
'cause the community over there likes to share these things.

Things I Learned This Month ~

Gutsy female characters catch my attention every time...
Reading Geraldine Brooks' Caleb's Crossing, a  gorgeous and captivating historical story of a brilliant heroine, Bethia in 17th century Pilgrim New England. I totally curled up for the entire weekend to read this exquisitely written book straight through, that kind of good! Learned a lot, such as: Harvard, the new world's first university in 1650 had an original charter that describes its missions as "the education of the English and Indian youth of this country". Much food for thought in this riveting portrayal [in part] of 17th century education; who gets it, who doesn't, and to what ends.

Repurposed architecture fascinates me...
Fabulous new library rises from the bones of an abandoned Walmart. What do you think of that?

Still have a fascination with words...
Just let this one spill from your tongue, quotidian.  
A mere four syllables, but don't they sound like you must have some intellectual moxie?
Here's the irony. The word means "occurring every day; belonging to the every day; commonplace, ordinary. To my mind, so not ordinary.
Then I read Kathleen Norris' discussion of the "everyday" and this makes it all better:
It is a paradox of human life that in is in the routine and the everyday that we find the possibilities for the greatest transformation...what we dread as mindless activity can free us, mind and heart, for the workings of the Holy Spirit...  The Quotidian Mysteries, p.82
It appears that I'm officially an introvert...
Susan Cain's bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking...well it just rings true. And I'm humbled to join the good company of fellow introverts like Eleanor Roosevelt, Madeleine L'Engle, and Rosa Parks. And then the Huffington Post ran an article with this list. So really, I feel better about the strengths that folks like me bring to humanity, such as, in the hunter -gather era, being "geared to inspect" we were more likely to do surveillance, scan the field under cover while the extroverts brashly stepped out in the open, serving themselves up to predators. Thus the introvert's skills of keen observation and data gathering have survived evolution. Something empowering about that.

I love lively, dynamic conversations...
We met for coffee and more than an hour went by as we wildly gestured and parlayed back and forth probably running off more than one adjacent java soul. I'm still an introvert.

How to create Art from Words ...
This nifty site helps you create art work gifts from any collection of words that you like. There are dozens of applications. The one I have seen is a beautiful pastel handprint created from all the names of the staff at our church preschool and given to them as a Back to School gift. Delightful.

A new recipe... 
CLEAN {healthy} Prosciutto Chicken. Easy, fast, low fat, yummy...I'm in. 

September looms with all its seasonal tradition and glory! 
Really hope Emily continues this link up next month. 
Fall has such possibilities! 

Curious about other posts in this Link UP? 

Here's the JUNE and JULY lists.

Aug 25, 2013

Jars of Clay

Wandering among the results of a potter’s wheel brings to heart thoughts and meditations on God’s words. Words proclaim God’s people created from clay; as varied in shape, size, form, hues, and glazes as the pottery stacked in the artist’s yard. God’s people as fragile, as prone to chipping and susceptible to damage as every vessel made from earth’s malleable substance. Like earthenware, we are strengthened by a kiln. Through the kiln of life’s struggles and pain our Lord fashions our character, reveals our spiritual gifts, and builds our faith. We are God’s creation. We are made and remade for His purposes and His glory. And as such we are filled. Here, this is where we diverge from the ordinary, empty vessels found in a potter’s yard. Our divine creator filled us with the gift, the treasure of His Holy Spirit. No empty vessel are we. No. Fallible, breakable, yes; but treasured beyond understanding, blessed and gifted beyond deserving. Designed to serve our Lord and equipped to do so by the abiding power of the Holy Spirit. 
I bring the camera to my eye and strive to frame the large number and variety of pottery in the viewfinder, praising all the while that I am among God’s multitude of wonderfully made people. 
And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Is. 64: 7-9 NLT
18 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. 5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. Jeremiah 18: 1-6
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:6-8 NLT

Aug 10, 2013

Strength in the Stillness

Their strength is to sit still...
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; 
In returning and rest 
shall ye be saved; 
in quietness and in confidence 
shall be your strength
Isaiah 30:7, 15 KJV

A lone chair, pulled away from the gathered seating at distance. Pulled closer to the water, closer to the pouring  sounds of the fountain’s spray, closer to the trees lining the shore. Seperated from chattering voices mingling about. Botanically hedged in and away from boulevard and path. A single seat. A momentary respite from restless going about. A miniature sanctuary under green boughs. A   chance occasion accepted to settle alone along the shore. To notice glory. To whisper gratitude. To seek Holy Spirit’s assuring presence and to recall the Lord’s restoring words. A lone chair; a call to quiet retreat, a return to rest. 
May you, faith filled visitors 
to this corner of online STILLNESS, 
happen upon your own 
quiet call to weekend rest. 
Linking with Still Saturday 
and the SUNDAY communities. 
Join them by clicking on their buttons below.

Aug 3, 2013

Follow the Bird Song

Luke 13:18-19
 18 Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? 19 It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.”
Mark 4:30-32
 30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
Matthew 13:31-32
 31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
A photo and a few words to join the prayerful communities at Still Saturday and  Sunday. Select their buttons from those below to enjoy more photo praise.

Aug 1, 2013

The Din of Chatter: Tell What You Learned

Coffee is brewed. The cup warm and swirled with vanilla creamer. 
Settled in the favorite wingback to join Emily's readers at Chatting at the Sky
Thanks to Emily for this midsummer link up to share what's up with her readers. 
And did you read last month's posts?I mean these women were talking. 
Everything form savvy techno pointers [lots of that], to the best books/films/music, and [always a favorite] tips on the best chocolate.
If we had been in a Fellowship Hall [because we're church women you see],
the din of chatter would have been heard all the way up the stairs to the chapel doors! 

Wondering what these women will come up this month?

Not to be left out, here's a bit of 
what I've learned in the last 30 days...

Risk and nervy ideas can pay off...
Decided to display one of my paintings in a local arts cafe. 
Great surprise, it sold! That's a first.

Solid wisdom gained ...
from Christian Songwriter/Singer Jason Grey's blog post about a father's intention to "foster kindness, grace, and intimacy in our home", not to mention how  Jason's music makes me sing at the top of my lungs!

Infant elephants play in the summer rain...
My southwest region has been deluged with rain that we NEVER get in July. So this bit of trivia was new on many levels. Ten day old (yet to be named) baby elephant at the Ft. Worth Zoo toddles about, gingerly experiencing rain for the first time; slips, slides, hunkers down under mama...too cute.

Even the well known list their learning...
Kathleen Norris writes in Amazing Grace, "..I have learned two things about my religious quest: First of all, that it is God who is seeking me, and who has myriad ways of finding me. Second, that my most substantial changes, in terms of religious conversion, come through other people." Still reading this book; absorbing the tangibly authentic, real living perspective that Norris portrays in a discussion of lofty, often difficult to grasp Christian concepts.

Daring Greatly author, Brene' Brown lists "the three lessons I learned about joy and light from people who have spent time in sorrow and darkness: 
1. Joy comes in ordinary moments. 2. Be grateful for what you have. 3. Don't squander joy. There's a mountain of wisdom to learn from this woman's research (!) ...the least of which, but oh so affirming,  in the last chapter, her family is typically late to church too.

New to me vocalist ...
Leigh Nash and her CD Hymns & Sacred Songs came to me as a gift. A gift I'm grateful for over and over as the lilting notes of her unique voice fill my ears with words of praise.

Fresh is best...
Real, juicy orange sections in my favorite summer salad is so much more flavorful than that from a can, makes the taste burst with the heightened sweet and tangy contrast to my honey-apple cider dressing.

CREATIVITY rises from unexpected places...
A children's orchestra rises from the slums. WATCH this, it will warm your heart!

Poetry preaches and heals...
and sounds very much like the Lord's redeeming hand .

with the bones of the black sticks
left when the fire has gone out
has written something new in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades now,
You are arriving."

Taken from "The Journey" by David White

Of course there was so much more. Not for public lists, no. But learning that stretched the heart, challenged the mind, strengthened faith... so much to learn from the opportunities offered everyday.