December 30, 2009

Pictures, etc

I took the day, first getting Dawson's pics from Christmas, getting pictures organized and posted in various places. Monte left this morning with Heather and Will - to drive them home to Texas since Bill is soon to come home from Iraq. I needed to get all the pictures we've taken of them since their return in early November onto Heather's computer, which I finally did early this morning. I took more movie clips with my little camera of Will's doings this time. These little milestones need capturing: like first foods, first sounds and babbling, first spinning and rolling on the floor and sitting and bouncing wildly in bouncy seat ... and then, the night before Christmas eve, before going to bed, I took a picture of the floor in front of the Christmas tree - lots of bits of ripped paper.

We copied some pictures of Bill and Bill and Heather together for Will to look at, us pointing and saying, "Mamma ... Dadda". We'd occasionally let him hold them. He's unusual in not putting everything in his mouth - more wanting to look at and analyze. So the pictures lasted a long time. We'd occasionally hear him saying, "Dadda, dadda ..." Don't know if he really gets the connection, but still ... Will did start ripping things. I let him recently have some catalogs, you know, those thousands that come in the mail, and let him look at and eventually rip. I thought it might get him ready for his first Christmas.

We did get Will a couple presents to easily rip open. Travis tried to initially show him how. We went to Travis and Sarah's Christmas Eve after singing carols before two services at our church, and spent the night. After opening presents we had our traditional brunch of Aebleskivers (see last December for pictures and recipe).

After all the cooking and tie-dying and knitting and company and getting Heather ready to go back home, I'm vegging out for awhile and NOT cooking. I'm not quite home alone though. I've not titled this post yet. I could title it "Velveteen House" again as Dawson and friends are currently watching a movie in our renovated laundry room (instead of his bedroom like they've done in the past). A friend of his made enchiladas and brought them for their supper (I've also sworn off of eating for awhile too!). They've been here for two days+. Playing games, welding/forging, cooking and eating and cleaning up the kitchen ... and Dawson had Aaron and Phil cut and chop and stack firewood today to pay for New Years "Skate the Lake" tickets he bought them. Which means a bunch of them are going to Evergreen Lake tomorrow evening till after midnight to ice skate and watch fireworks and returning here to sleep in.

This post really is to tell you I posted a bunch of pictures over the past several months on my photoblog.

December 18, 2009


I'm doing another advertisement for my son Travis's new CD cuz it can now be downloaded from iTunes.

Been getting more and more feedback from people - really liking it and ordering more for gift giving.

December 13, 2009


Instead of my knitting post I just mentioned ... when I looked at the last post I noticed the date today - December 13, and remembered it's St Lucia day. In the past we celebrated this day, remembering it's story. And we've passed St Nicholas Day, that's the day we left for Tucson, leaving Heather and Will here in Colorado to "keep the fire burning". And we're in the season of Advent.

I'd post about all this, but it takes time to create new posts. I work hard crafting my writing. But my life is in a different place right now for awhile. I could copy and paste stuff, but you could click on the months in the side bar and read what I'd write this year.

December 13th is a day I have set in my mind to start baking Christmas cookies. Why? because a Swedish author I read years ago did that, and I thought it a nice date to keep. Because recently home from Tucson, I did get my recipes out and have got my grocery list made.

If you look at last year's posts you'd see how I decorate my inside windows. Dawson brought in a tree and it's decorated. Christmas music has been playing, and little Will, playing on the floor is singing away, in his way. (I know, I've got to take and post pictures.)

The weather outside is frightful - blowing snow. But inside, with the stove burning it's delightful. I've been sitting with Mary and Joseph these days. Trying to imagine living in their sandals ...

Picture test

This post is kinda a test. I wanted to post more pictures with the last post of Sarah's Shower, but my pictures wouldn't post. And I still have another post as a draft of knitting projects I've finished and working on, but the pictures won't post. So I'm going to see if doing another post from scratch with adding pics will work. Let's see ...

It worked! This is a photo Dawson took, trying out his new camera in below freezing weather. It was one of his last days of school last week, having really hard finals.

Monte and me were in Tucson AZ during those bitter cold days. Monte doing work at Stan's with visiting geologists from Canada and Norway. I stayed there some (and cooked some) as well as visiting my sister, and got to see one of my brothers.

I'll try another photo Dawson took of me and then copy and paste my knitting project draft into a new post and post the pictures.

December 3, 2009

Sarah's Baby Shower

Because Sarah's family was here for the Thanksgiving Holiday, they had a baby shower for her and this is a picture of her opening one of her presents.

December 1, 2009

Family & Thanksgiving Day

As I said before, we went to Travis and Sarah's place for Thanksgiving. Ft Collins, Colorado is 1 1/2 hour drive from us. Sarah's parents, John and Kerry, drove up from Texas. Her sister Annie and husband Aaron flew in from Oregon. Heather, Will, Monte and me drove up mid-day. Dawson drove up later with Splarah and her brother Phil, having had an earlier Thanksgiving meal with Splarah's family at her Grandmother's.

I've not seen Dawson's pictures yet except our family picture he posted on Facebook, so I grabbed the picture from there to post here. All the other pictures I took.

Travis first grilled/smoked the turkey and then finished baking it in the oven. Sarah's feeling quite pregnant, due in a little over a month - she's hugging the cook. Her mom and sister did most of the cooking. Because her family was here, they had a baby shower for her last weekend too, so we drove up again.

I'm posting a picture of some of us playing "Bananagrams" because of wanting to tell of the table we're on. Kerry brought the game and it was so fun that Dawson bought it and we played it here with company Saturday. It's a kind of Scrabble/Boggle game and few to lots of people can play. Aaron made Travis and Sarah their main table. We gave them this cabinet we'd gotten from my grandmother, thinking they'd really use it more than us. The front of the cabinet pulls out and leaves stored inside unfold to lay out on top creating a table as long as maybe 15 feet if needed. And the wonder of it all is it's the same width and height as the table Aaron built for them. So when there's lots of us, the couches are slid over to the dining area and the tables butted together.

Tie-Dye & Will

I finally took pictures and downloaded them ... I said in an earlier post that I'd post pictures of recent tie-dye projects. Since I've not tie-dyed since my teen years (that wonderful hippie era!) I read the new info for review and see what's new. Then I practiced. The goal was curtains Sarah bought for their open stairwell tall window, and I didn't want to practice on them!

I bought a soft 100% cotton queen-sized sheet set - a great thing to practice on. Some parts I swirled and rubber-banded. Some parts I pleated and rubber-banded or wrapped with a waxed string. Some parts I just banded in a circle for the typical tie-dye bulls-eyes. What did I learn? You think you've soaked the material (it was already wetted in a soda ash solution) and no white is visible, and you worry that it's all just soaking together and going to be a solid dark mess.

I left the sheets: top, fitted, and pillow cases in separate plastic bags (and did a pair of socks too - ordered these really soft bamboo socks that I think I'm going to get more of) to sit in a warm spot while Monte and me flew down to drive Heather and Will here to Colorado, stopping and visiting some old friends along the way. Once home I rinsed them, unbanding them ... and oh ... so much white! So I retied them and squirted more colors on and let sit 24 hours, then rinsed and washed them. My original trials got covered so I couldn't really see my patterning, but that's okay. They are just sheets and going to be slept on. The picture is them on the guest bed at Travis and Sarah's (her family came to stay over the Thanksgiving holiday).

At Travis and Sarah's we squirted a lot of colors on paper towels and let dry. Travis narrowed the choice down to four colors. We folded the long curtains in thirds and pleated them and tied and rubber-banded them. It's easier to tie up the centers of long things with the waxed string than try and rubber band them. We're working on a large metal sheet I got years ago at an auto supply store - it's what people put in garages under leaky cars. I use it all the time on the kitchen table with my wet felting and anything else messy. Sarah worked on one curtain and me on the other and we had them laying side-by-side and doing the same color squirted between the bindings so the hanging curtains would have the same striping. Sarah left them in their plastic bags in a bucket for a couple days before rinsing and washing. So we all waited anxious - they just looked dark with no color variation when all wet, and no white showing - we really soaked them! Sarah emailed me so excited about how they'd turned out. I didn't see them till Thanksgiving day.

While I'm at it, I'll post a recent picture of Will. Will usually eats his supper just before us in his little green Bumbo chair (it's from South Africa and Dawson wishes he had one!). We leave him up on the table while we eat and have a gay ole time with him! He's our "center piece"!

November 26, 2009


A friend sent this ...

God is a tagger on the walls of nonexistence.

You and everything are the four dimensional graffiti of God.

God writes his name a thousand different ways, not as an egomaniac

but to claim the emptiness

on the walls of nonexistence.

There is another who hates the color – says the walls are his-

who works to strip all of it clean into nothingness

or to at least sandblast that name unrecognizable.

but He who showed up as the art and the artist,

scandalous scrawny four dimensional spray can manifestation of outrageous word-shapes

was Himself sandblasted and stripped on the wall of nonbeing.

He took his name and the art to the other side of the wall, claiming it forever

color reaching us from the inside, we hang with Him, the name which is written a thousand

different ways.

still somewhere obliterated on this side, we spray it back, knowing who we are.

- from "a Denver Book of Prayer"

November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Stuff

Tomorrow we head through the woods, on freeways and byways, over rivers and train-tracks and more roadways to Travis and Sarah's home for Thanksgiving. It's been a long time since I've not hostessed Thanksgiving, cooking the turkey stuffed with my grandma's and mom's sage dressing. I'm making the pies and rolls and a fresh cranberry side dish to bring.

I've got pie pumpkins in the oven roasting for pumpkin pies. I simmered dry the pumpkin seeds and they're spread on a cookie sheet drying in the oven now too. I posted last year about cooking up squash seeds - I do it for most winter squash, not just pumpkin seeds. I know too I must have gotten my idea from somewhere, so I just looked at books I knew I had when we were early married that might have it in, and found it. I looked mainly to find proportions to share with you since I wing it each time and sometimes they're too salty.

The Salted Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Seed recipe wasn't in one of my grandma's cookbooks but Carla Emery's Old Fashioned Recipe Book - The Encyclopedia of Country Living, and I see it's still in print. I've got her original book she wrote decades ago, printing sections from a mimeograph machine on varying colored pages and bound in a 3-ring binder, having heard her on TV. I've not read her newer version word-for-word as I did the first edition, but I do know things are missing ... like her Christian testimony and married to a Mormon man, were in the Chicken chapter.

After washing the squash seeds she boils them 15 minutes: 2-3 TB salt per quart of water, drains, and spreads to dry on a cookie sheet in a moderate oven till brown and crisp. I think that's too much salt and I add other stuff. I like to barely cover the seeds in a saucepan with water and put in a TB of butter or olive oil. For one pumpkin's seeds today I put in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder. I like to simmer till the liquid evaporates cuz then the flavorings penetrate the seeds. Most recipes have you adding butter or oil to the cookie sheet and salting and stirring - how would the salt really stick? and 'twould be messy. Usually I just put them in an oven that had been on, but now turned off and leave them to dry - sometimes leaving them in till the next day (just don't turn the oven on for something else, forgetting the seeds are in there! And you should peek in the oven when you're turning it on anyway - I've left cast iron pans in to dry. Monte's cousin's kid likes to hide stuffed animals in the oven!)

My sister sent the pumpkin picture last week and I deliberated posting it. I told her it was SO funny yet gross too. She had several comments to her post and the one I thought funniest was "I think I'll reach for the apple pie this Thanksgiving ..."

Well, off to make the pie crusts and refrigerate - chilled dough makes flakier crusts, as well as not manhandling it too much. I'm making two pumpkin and two mystery pecan pies.

November 14, 2009


Oh I know ... I've not been posting regular. I'll just do a quick overview to catch you up to date. I was just downloading some more photos and looking thru the near-recents have helped me remember things happening lately ... lots.

The most recent pictures are of Will, but most are movie clips that I can't post yet. Monte and me just returned from Texas, flying into Killeen the day President Obama was at Ft Hood. Luckily we flew in toward evening and traffic, still heavy leaving the base, wasn't bad getting to Heather's home. We packed up Heather's car (packed meaning "packed!!!!") and drove home to Evergreen. So Will and Heather are here for the Holidays. Got home just before another snow storm. I'll be taking pictures.

I had posted a bit back about another snow storm keeping us from flying home to Colorado. We'd been visiting Monte's parents in Wisconsin. I'm posting a picture of Monte's Mom and sister-in-law Linda in the kitchen. Monte, Mike and Scott (Swan brothers) had gone fishing. If you look close, Scott is sticking his head in behind Mike and Monte. Monte caught a couple good sized pike we ate the next day - yummm! Then a couple days later Monte and me went fishing. I rowed the boat as Monte cast. He caught several northern pike, throwing the smaller ones back. I like the picture above I took of him (and then my camera fell out of my pocket into the boat bottom and got wet and I had to text Dawson as to how to fix it - took out the battery and kept it at the back of Monte's mom's stove while supper was heating and the camera dried out and then worked!)

Some of us gals had a Homemade for the Holidays tea and craft day at church a week ago. The center of the room was decorated with four tea tables - pretty with real china. Around the perimeter of the room were a variety of craft stations. I did a needlefelting station. There was mug decorating, jewelry making, scrapbooking, card making, Eukranian egg making, beaded angel ornaments, and quilting stations too. A full day with three tea times and mainly females coming and going (I'd say ladies, but some were young girls, and occasional boys and men). It was a great day that we're going to do again!

I've been practicing tie-dying. We're soon going to Travis and Sarah's and I don't want to practice on Sarah's curtains. She got some really long white curtains at a yard-sale that'll fit nice over their stairwell window. We're going to stripy dye them (as opposed to typical circle tie-dye). I got some queen-sized sheets for their guest bed and been practicing on them. I did initial dying Monday before Monte and me left for Texas. But when I undid the rubber bands when we'd gotten home, there was still too much white sheet showing, so I re-rubber-banded (tied) them and over-dyed them. I'll open them in a bit and see ... and take a picture. Today I decided to bind up a long strip and do all the dye colors I had made up thinking of their home colors (and my laundry room colors, which I'm going to dye curtains for too, later). That way, rather than little catalog color swatches, we can see what they REALLY look like. (I ran errands yesterday and one checkout gal remarked about my hands looking like I've been having fun - I didn't wear gloves yesterday, so my hands were stained a variety of colors!)

I'm posting a picture off of Facebook of Travis and Sarah I like. And Dawson's holding a baby blanket Sarah crocheted, and then there's a picture of pregnant Sarah. Sarah's about to have a baby shower cuz her family is going to be here for Thanksgiving.

Then there's a picture of Dawson and Splarah dressed for a Halloween party. Splarah is Little Red Riding Hood. Dawson forged/welded his head-piece and is wearing the chain-mail he made several years ago.

I noticed a picture Dawson took of our mailboxes at the base of our road (a mile away) from that last snow storm we missed and Dawson said was up to his waist. Most of it melted, except the north slopes will be snow-covered from here on.

Today is Monte's and my anniversary.

What's cooking? Butternut squash and turkey meatballs are in the oven. I roasted garlic in olive oil and drained it into a cast-iron skillet and just made croutons for the garlic egg-drop soup we're having too. Then a salad will round off the meal. The cookstove is hot, the great room is cozy, and it's snowing outside. Time to eat.

November 3, 2009

Circular Calendar Monologue

Calendar Girl me is getting ready to speak at MOPS tomorrow. 'Tis a rich season we're approaching. But then I love the richness each season has to offer as we recycle rhythmically around the calendar.

"Around" the calendar wouldn't be a term you'd use, when our calendars are linear and we tend to live linearly as well. God established festivals to recycle each year for establishing traditions, retelling of stories, and re-remembering.

"Live linearly"? Hmmmm .... that's what I love about sitting down to write - to journal. When waking and desiring to post something, living linearly was not in my thoughts. As I write, it's like my fingers are their own being and take off with stuff on their own. And then the rest of me has to pause and reflect ... and I'm thinking, "How cool!" What am I thinking in connection to seeing live linearly on the page?

I'm actually visualizing a line of time. Like I have to speak tomorrow, and then there's a very busy art and tea day at church next weekend I'm involved in. So often when there's things demanding more of me, my default mode thinks "I can't wait for tomorrow to be done with" or "next saturday to be over". Like when Monte had us speaking all over the country, I always had those thoughts. Like I want to jump ahead on my calendar timeline. Hmmmm ... isn't there a movie like that, fast forwarding thru things of life?

When I saw that the main point of Jesus' time with Mary and Martha in the recorded scripture story was that they be present to him in the moment - whether able to sit at his feet, or working in the kitchen, I related that message to my times I'd like to fast-forward thru. No! Not if I'm living beyond just linear time ... Like I'm supposed to be living rhythmically ever present to Loving God and Loving My Neighbor in every moment, aware of his Larger Story he asks me to be a part of.

Sure I can live in my own small story and focused on the past or the future and not really present to the here and now of this moment ... missing God winks!

So what was I going to post today? ;^)
Oh yes, I'm readying to speak on the calendar season tomorrow. I reread my postings a year ago - by clicking on the sidebar months of November thru January, you'd see the calendar season posts I'm not wanting to take the time to link you to. We just passed Halloween, which the stories I connect to that time is Reformation and the following day of All Saints Day, which was a huge turning point in our Christian history. Before that in September thru October are the Jewish Fall Festivals. That's where the calendar book I'm writing begins: The Jewish New Year and God creating our world. The Jewish festival of Sukkot that God instituted to be celebrated every year became our Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving.

I'm taking tomorrow, a picture I drew of my circular calendar (which is posted in June of this year under John the Baptist Day, where I also talk about my living rhythmically). I'm also taking an old Thanksgiving Tree I kept one year. Because I reread last years post, I'm remembering a turning point in this established tradition, and I'm going to share that tomorrow.

Because each year, for years, I've drawn a bare tree on a large piece of paper and put it up before Thanksgiving, and cut out leaves from colored paper for people to write things they're thankful for, Thanksgiving day is rich with thoughts already in a full-of-thanks mode or posture. Last year the wall space was not there for the tree, since I'd put up more photos, so I didn't do the tree. I waited to see if it was missed. One guest did make a comment I loved! "Where's the tree? I've been thinking of things all week to write on leaves to glue on the tree!!" So I quickly drew a tree and the refrigerator was the decided place to put it and I brought down my can full of colored markers - a way more colorful creative tree of gratitude, from the tangible to intangible, took shape throughout the day!

I'm also taking a Christmas stocking full of things. I keep this stocking in the ready for times when I speak. It's filled with things related to the Saint Nicholas story. When protestantism threw out the church calendar, they threw out so much Christian history rich with Third Testament stories. People used to wake up remembering these stories - which help me remember that if God was there for them, he'll be here for me. People used to wake with lives aware and looking for miracles in their everyday living. Do we, in our linear days? Because we no longer remember St Nicholas and his story on December 6, he's gotten mixed up with Jesus and celebrated on Christmas! I now put up stockings on December 6 and we can tell people as we live the days of December that Santa Claus already came to our house - and then share the real story!

I'm bringing JRR Tolkiens Father Christmas book, as well as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever book (my favorite read-aloud every year! - such a healing story for me at one point of my life), and Madeline L'Engle's Dance in the Desert book. Dawson and friends dramatized that book one year using things from the "Dress Up Box" (Halloween is such a good time to find great things for a dress up box: wigs, funny glasses, long gloves, costumes of animals ... I've still got the stuff in a barrel, awaiting Grandkids!). In the days following Christmas (the 12 Days of Christmas) there's a day remembering all the children ordered murdered by Harod in Jesus' story, which too remembers an OT scripture mentioning the wailing Hebrew mothers for their slaughtered children. The Dance in the Desert book imagines the fleeing "Holy Family" (as depicted in so much art) crossing the desert to Egypt in a caravan, and one night all of creation comes to pay homage to the Christ child.

Since I'm posting on this season, I'll post a picture of the pumpkin Dawson carved this year. His friend Aaron helped him draw it out first. In case you can't tell, it's a Jesus face pumpkin. Since we were out of town last week, he did it at a friend's house and I've not seen the real thing. I wish I could see it, cuz it's unreal looking!

Where am I ending my seasonal talk tomorrow? My handout takes everyone thru the Advent season. The Christian Calendar begins with Advent, awaiting God Incarnate, enfleshed in the birth of a baby. Last year's December link defines this season for you with daily scripture readings, if you'd like. The 12 Days of Christmas culminate January 6 with Epiphany, remembering the adoration of the Magi. Then my handout has some Third Testament story days with St Nicholas and St Lucia, on the 13th (our Swedish roots, yet she's not Swedish!), and Hanukkah. Then there's Boxing Day, St Stephen's day, Peter Pan day (you've got to read my post on this!), Childermas, Circumsicion Day (yes, it's a part of the Jesus story and art depicts it!), ending with Ground Hog Day.

Why Ground Hog Day, and how does that connect with the Incarnation of God story? Originally, February 2 was, and is, Candlemas Day: the day Jesus, "a light to lighten the gentiles", was presented at the temple, and old Anna and Simeon were patiently awaiting him.
"One generation makes known your faithfulness to the next."
- Isaiah 38:19

"...for they shall hear from us about the wonders of the Lord, generations yet unknown will hear of the miracles he did for us."
- Psalms 22:30-31

"Enter God's gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation."
- Psalm 100

October 29, 2009

Travis's CD!

Our son Travis with friend Katrina are coming out with a CD. Here's a link to one of the songs. It's due out November 13 - great timing for Christmas gifts! As I've sat listening to the mixes I keep thinking of more and more people I want to give it to!

Dawson went up to stay with Travis and Sarah a couple days (where were Monte and me? were we getting ready to leave town? I'm a bit befuddled having been in Wisconsin visiting Monte's aging parents-his dad having fallen-and planes have been canceled and delayed into Denver because of snow. How much snow is at home Dawson? 3 feet?). Dawson took lots of photos for the CD and here's one of the photos.

October 21, 2009

Visual Faith

Art is a subject I’ve wanted to study – not art history, and not the how-to. I’ve collected many books and it may be what I write on next, having blogged about the calendar for two years and putting it in book form (I really have several books in meself to write!) (and, as I’ve written sometime this summer, I am going to change my blog format … someday … when I’ve more time … haha!). But my art quest began moreso with “Come to me as a child” and the desire to Recapture the Wonder (which is the title of a book by Ravi Zacharias, and then there’s Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli). I want to study of the power of beauty, the power of the visual – Visual Faith.

I got a new Bible for this year’s devotional/ meditational/ lectio divina/ contemplative reading. It’s called the Mosaic Holy Bible, using the word mosaic as referring to us believers. On our own we are little more than bits of stone and glass, but together we make up the body of Christ, reflecting His image. The front third of the book has guided Scripture readings appropriate to the church season, along with writings encompassing a great cloud of witnesses from old to new; prayers, hymns, and poems, as well as full-color artwork – all for engaging the soul. Then the last 2/3 is the New Living Translation. I’ve not read that translation and am finding it refreshing.

I recently read the section titled “Creativity”. Remember, calendar girl me has told you our Christian Year begins the end of November with the start of Advent, and we are now in the season called “Ordinary Time”, the 22nd week after Pentecost. I really resonated with this creativity theme. Even if I weren’t artistic (which if you say that of yourself, I’d question your definition of “artistic” and maybe some quotations and comments here will help you think this through) … I’d still value the thoughts worth pondering.

“Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us” … So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them … Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
- Genesis 1

“Deep within all of us is a longing to recapture a sense of wonder, to marvel at the mystery of God and His creation like we did as children. But through the years our capacity for wonder has been stifled by busyness and ambitions, and we have resigned ourselves to explaining away all that once made us gasp in awe … Our sense of wonder is a blessing from God.”
- Ravi Zacharias

“Every experience of beauty points to infinity.”
- Hans Urs von Balthasar

All creation proclaims God’s craftsmanship and glory day after day and night after night—they make Him known in their way.
- Psalm 19

“I am creating new heavens and a new earth … Be glad, rejoice forever in my creation! And look!”
- Isaiah 65:17,18

I have been looking. I do notice. I do appreciate, hopefully beyond a rational assertion … but in the realm of aha!!!!!

“Art has long been a spiritual practice. Its modern stigma has undeservingly dampened Christian creativity and squelched the innate novelty with which we were formed. Fortunately, churches are once again beginning to embrace the full range of the arts, exploring the nonverbal ways God is glorified.

Of course, we were given this very mandate and model for creativity in God’s creation—nature and humanity are brave testaments to an imaginative Creator. As we enter an awestruck posture, it is right and appropriate to respond using the creative nature with which we’ve been blessed.”
- Mosaic Holy Bible

Our imagination as Christians has been primarily nourished by the spoken and written word as well as music. The church and its experience with beauty appears to be estranged, and the role the church could offer has been supplanted by art galleries and theaters. In desiring to respond to the presence of God with the whole of our beings, is there a place for visual artists and their responses in church? In saying above that we’ve been moreso nourished by literature and music, could I also say that we’re mal-nourished in our visual imagination?

The importance of creativity “is that the Christian life involves the use of the imagination—after all, we are dealing with the invisible [like God], and the imagination is our training in dealing with the invisible—making connections…”
- Eugene Peterson

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
- Albert Einstein

The root word for imagination is “image”, meaning a visual representation, a visible impression, a mental representation or idea, a simile or metaphor. The visual has a way of sticking in our memory and making demands on our conscience long after the explanations have been rubbed thin by the frictions of daily life. We do need moral propositions and principles, but we need images too, because we think more readily in pictures than in propositions. And when a moral principle has the power to move us to action, it is often because it is backed up by a story or visual image.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God … Through Christ God created everything … “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself …”
- Colossians 1:15-20

“Creator God, your Spirit enables our own creative abilities as we allow you to work through our words, our hands and our imaginations.

We thank you for the beauty of created things, for pots and bowls moulded by the skilful manipulation of clay, for a portrait which captures the essence of a personality, for the written word which transports us to a faraway place, a poem that captures the raw emotion of a moment, a prayer that speaks to our heart and soul.

You are present wherever mankind opens its eyes to see, can be heard whenever mankind opens its ears to hear, can be felt as hands are outstretched in faith.”
- John Birch

“The desire to create is not taught. The world and everything in it is the workmanship of the Creator. As created beings, we carry the image of God, not least of which is an innate urge called creativity.

Creativity is a spiritual discipline that followers of Jesus have too often ignored. As far back as Genesis, God gave humanity an artistic assignment. He asked Adam to name the animals and thus invited him into the creative process with himself, the Creator.

Unfortunately, the beauty and order of creation were soon scarred; God, however, was not deterred. The story of Jesus is the mark of the creative master at work. Only divinity could take something as offensive as the cross and use it to restore beauty. He continues his redemptive plan by empowering us to join him in this creative work … And the Spirit came in power to an expectant group of Christ-followers, and the creative force embodied in one person, Jesus Christ, is now available to everyone.

Peter quoted the prophet Joel to describe what has happened: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people’ (Acts 2:17). And with these words, God’s creative spark ignites the hearts of men and women in a whole new way.

God the Creator now places his divine imprint on our spirits. Pentecost shatters the glass ceiling of possibility. The garden is now replaced with an upper room, and the new assignment goes beyond simply naming his creation to calling his creation into a regenerative process, making old things new.

Wherever there is a divide, God’s creativity in us leads us to build a bridge. Wherever there is doubt, God’s creativity in us stirs our imagination and produces faith. Wherever there is despair, God’s creativity in us pictures and pursues hope. Wherever there is injustice, God’s creativity in us finds a way to show his love.”
- Mark Miller

Travis had a poster that said “Expose yourself to art”. And I think it was Madeline L’Engle who said to not judge art, but let art judge you.

October 20, 2009

Beauty in death

I took a bunch of pictures outside this morning in the warm sun before the next storm front moved in today, bringing more snow ... supposedly ... we'll see. I needed to capture for my photo library what some of the 'dead' plants look like, but started taking close-ups of the seed heads. I found some things still flowering. In this death cycle there is still beauty.

But in the picture process I decided to take pictures of all Monte's rock specimens he scattered around my garden walls this summer. I'm getting my pictures organized, getting more from Dawson's computer too, for Monte's parents to see, since we're visiting them and they so like pictures. I thought they'd get a kick out of seeing their son's playfulness. If I were to count all his rocks, there'd be a lot. I'm going to post some of the most pretty or unique. A green and black one is serpentinite, which he's mainly working with right now in his geologic endeavors.

October 18, 2009


"Unless you're in a kissing relationship,
skip the dip."

- as said by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
on NPRs Splendid Table radio show this weekend.

Anyone needing me to explain?

October 17, 2009

Worship Quote

"There is no one in this world who is not, at this moment, at worship in one way or another, consciously or unconsciously, formally or informally, passively or passionately. . . . the question is not, When do we worship ...? Instead, it is, Whom do we worship and with what condition of heart?"
- Harold Best

Quoted in Marva J Dawn's newest book In The Beginning God: Creation, Culture, and the Spiritual Life. (I love her books!)

Wonder Time

Woke early this morning thinking of the film clip I posted yesterday. Thinking of things it reminded me of ...

We've had guests for a couple days - an investor friend of Monte's and his son. As Don and Monte are talking, Micah's been wandering around wondering what to do. We've talked, but I don't entertain kids. I didn't entertain my kids. Sure we read together, made things together, and played games together, but I also often left them on their own to think up their own things to do, and TV and video games was never an option since we didn't have those. We didn't even have neighbor kids as an option to go play with. Micah's been having some fun, but I think it's been very different for him.

Dawson came home, first meeting us at a Thai restaurant for a supper together and then was here yesterday. Some of his friends came yesterday late afternoon to help him go get composted horse manure and shovel it into our back area for me to scatter over all my garden areas putting them to bed for winter (and I've got some bulbs to plant in my new areas for early Spring flowers). As everyone awaited the great supper I was making, Dawson and friends started playing with all the music instruments we've gathered over the years. Phil was trying to play the mandolin - very creatively successful. Dawson pulled out a flute we were given, for Splarah to try. Aaron started providing rhythm by overturning a trash bin. Monte even was trying to play the saw. I hated to tell them supper was ready! Micah saw cool guys totally uninhibited enjoying making music and hanging around the dining table with gay conversation.

The film clip reminds me of the movie "August Rush". I love that movie. An orphan boy with an austere childhood lives with hope that his parents didn't abandon him and will find him. When he escapes the orphanage I sat with pins-and-needles awaiting evil. Only Robin Williams is the character who abuses this boy's innocence and giftedness. I love his first experience of the hustling, bustling big city. He hears and feels rhythmic music in the traffic and horn honking and all. When exposed to a guitar and left alone with it, he explores it in ways no one usually does. I don't want to tell you anything more about the movie.

I don't know if my youngest brother Robby remembers - he's about ten years younger than me - we used to sit out in our front yard together. We'd sit looking at the gravel in our drive and I'd see pretty ones and I actually collected them, putting them in my jewelry box. I'd tell Robby to listen. "Tell me what you hear ...?" We'd sit that way for a long time.

Have you ever taken the time to sit and watch ants? They'll string out in a long line, some of them carrying stuff. Stuff often larger and probably heavier than themselves. How do they do that? On a crowded street there's such variety of people to watch, but do you notice plants growing in cement, rock, and asphalt cracks and stop to wonder? do you notice the variety of birds 'voices'? I've stopped to observe pigeons, wanting to know what their mannerisms and voices are like, since I'm unfamiliar with them.

The key here is taking time to notice. Maybe it would mean closing our eyes to shut out the normal and listen for the new, feel and sense stuff more, like in the film clip. Like 'be still and know that I am God' kind of time. When the disciples wanted to shove off the insignificant children, Jesus took them on his lap and told us to come to him as a child.

There's such an innocent trust in children, an abandonment in their work and play, so there in the moment, and such a sense of wonder - all pieces of worship.

October 16, 2009

A deaf girl learns to play violin - An Inspiring must view.

Beautiful music. "Why do you have to be like others"? ... a chrysalis turned butterfly!

October 13, 2009

Felted Picture?

This is the felted picture I'm currently working on. I've had varying visions and working titles for it during the process, but haven't settled on a name yet.

October 12, 2009

Chili Con Carne

What did I cook on the cookstove Saturday when it slightly snowed but moreso heavily froze and frosted everything in a very picturesque way? Chili. I've got my 3x5 card sitting here with me. It has a paperclip on it, meaning I've accumulated several chili recipes. Paperclips in my recipe box are on Lasanga, and Tiramisu (not remembering what else). But Monte says this is the BEST Chili, so I need to make that note on the card (maybe throw away or put away the other cards).

As I've said before, I packed away most all my cookbooks (tho, as I posted a picture on my photoblog, Monte just made a shelf in the garage over the freezers that my books are now on and I'm utilizing them, having missed them!). A cookbook set I did leave out is all the Cooks Illustrated bound magazines. I never buy the magazines, waiting till the end of the year's bound edition, and have them all from their beginning. I consult them all the time. So this chili recipe is the best because of consulting them, yet not following their exact recipe. That's what I like about them - so much exploration and process of elimination with the whys, that I can choose my own way -

Chili con Carne
about 4# beef chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes (the last couple times I've used pork shoulder since it's what I had in the freezer. And the cubed meat is what's a key to the goodness of this recipe.)
7-8 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-1/2" pieces
Fry bacon and brown meat in batches (I used some wine after batches to remove browned bits stuck on pan's bottom - Monte thinks that's another key to the goodness - my addition to the recipe, having read many recipes that do that.)
Saute -
1 onion, chopped, 5-6 minutes, and add -
5 garlic cloves, minced &
3 anahiem chilies or 1 jalepeno, chopped
(I grilled these anahiems earlier, as we got them in our farm share. And they're a bit spicy hot. Once grilled, let cool- and then I plop them in the freezer in a ziplock bag with other chilies I've grilled. This would be another of my additions to the original recipe.)
2 tsp salt
3 Tb chili powder
(The recipe original messes with a variety of chilies, grinding and making a paste ... I skipped. I let the juices dry out, maybe not adding all the tomato in at once, so that the spices saute, toasting a bit too.)
2 TB cumin (whole, I didn't grind this time)
2 tsp oregano
1 cup (or small can stewed) tomatoes, chopped
2 TB lime juice
Add back in the meat and bacon and 7 cups of water and let this simmer at least 2 hours.
At the end, Add -
5 TB Masa Harina, mixed with
2/3 cups water
and occasionally stir letting it heat and thicken some.
(The original recipe doesn't add beans, but I always add a can of either black beans or black soy beans.)

We love to eat this with added grated cheese and avacado chunks. I'll eat with tortilla chips, while my boys will crush the chips into the chili. Add a side salad and you've got a great meal. (I froze what was left of it last night for one more meal.)

Dawson and Splarah went skiing today for this year's first time. Wow, early October. There was a year that Travis made the goal of skiing every month of the year - not sure where he'd have done that in August. But one of our ski hills is open the earliest and latest of all others - it's A-Basin, most of it above timberline. We have the typical evergreen pines, conifers, spruce, and then above them there's the Bristle Cone Pines that are as old as Jesus! A-Basin's summit is above 13,000ft.

That's chili!!!!!!!

Dust Quote

Monte sent me another quote that I'll post here to capture (and delete the email) and then comment.

Stop dusting, and you can use your coffee table as a message board!

I'll have to ask him where it came from, but I think I know why he sent it. It's not that my coffee table or any table is so dusty. For some miraculous reason our house doesn't create much dust (but don't look too close). I think he sent it cuz I have a quote (Sarah wrote my quote on our graffiti chalkboard wall in the bathroom) -

"Dust is Country"
- Karey Swan

Our home is a country home with a country look and feel, and dust is a part of that. Is it that we hardly have any dust? Or does the decor just not glaringly show forth dust? Or do I decorate country so I don't have to dust? What tis the question?

October 10, 2009

Life a Craft

As Geoffrey Chaucer lamented,
“The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.”
But for today’s weavers, lifelong learning is the joy as well as the challenge of the craft.

Just capturing a quote from an old friend of Monte's.

New look ... New season

Just a reminder to go check out new postings to my photoblog.

I posted a series of the old vs new Dawson and a comparison with Travis, who people are now saying, with Dawson's new hair style - "they finally look like brothers!". I'm still not used to the new look!

When taking pictures of things in my greenhouse I found a surprise in the greenhouse sink! Cleaning up the yard for winter, Monte must have unearthed this old toy! I need to ask him where he found it. His putting it in the sink is probably telling me to clean it up for the new season of our life - grandkids!

Is this Fall or Winter? It is snowing again, Monte got the stove going, I'm still in my bathrobe, and watching a bluejay and magpie scarfing up the birdseed from the birdfeeder meant for little finches, chickadees and nuthatches. Time to get dressed and get something out of the freezer cooking on the stove, and finish my felted picture (I posted it's beginning on my photoblog).

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