Thursday, July 26, 2007

Another Experiment With Digital Art

I wanted to try a tutorial I saw a few months back using a gradient and the smudge tool in Paint Shop Pro to create a sunset. I'm rather pleased with the results. I added an oak tree that I'd drawn a couple years ago, and then reduced the brightness and increased the contrast to get a "nightfall" effect. Not great art, but I sure had fun doing it!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Just Another Day In Boston

We got on the Red Line Thursday morning, not sure where we would go. After two small misadventures at Charles MGH and Kendall stations, we decided to get off back at Downtown Crossing. We went to the Boston Commons Visitor Center, and decided to do a Freedom Trail Walking Tour ( While we waited for the tour to start, we chatted with the actors who portray Captain David Hawkins (who ended up being our guide) and Mary “Polly” Perry. Today, reading the web site, I learned that the young lady playing Polly is actually the 9th great-granddaughter of the woman she portrays.

Capt. Hawkins took us on a 90 minute walk, telling us all sorts of stories leading up the Revolutionary War. I became interested in James Otis, who (according to Capt. Hawkins) said, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” We also saw both the real site of the Boston Massacre and the official site-marker. I was glad he mentioned Crispus Attucks, the first African-American to die in the cause of American freedom.

I wish I could remember more of his narration, but it’s like drinking from a fire-hydrant. But I’m researching history on the Web, so the tour planted more seeds for me to cultivate. We may do it again next summer to refresh our memories.

The tour ended across the street from Fanueil Hall, so John and I then found our way to Leventhal Park, which we’d seen from the bus a few times. John loves water, so the park’s fountain has always intrigued him.

I liked the arbor near the fountain. It's very romantic. But I reminded John that Puritan law forbade a man to kiss his wife in public, as we had recently learned from Capt. Hawkins. John countered that the ordinance only applied on Sundays. Nevertheless, he confined himself to hand-holding.

As we made our way back to Downtown Crossing, John spotted a waterfall at a bank plaza. Approaching it, we could read the Preamble to the United States Constitution on the pavement leading up to it. Although I thought it was a majestic tribute to our Constitution, I couldn’t help thinking such a site would fit Philadelphia better than Boston. But when we turned to leave, we saw a small stone marker saying that on that site in 1788, the Massachusetts delegation ratified the Constitution.

We got home at 7:00 that evening, tired but very happy and proud of our country.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Letting The Lord Work In Me

I'm still working through Matthew in my daily Quiet Time, using four commentaries to study. The Lord keeps speaking through it about humility and putting Jesus first in my life. I'm in chapter 19 now, and looking at Jesus' interchange with the rich young ruler challenges me to ask myself if I'm putting my marriage or my computer time before my relationship with Him. Maybe that's a question I have to ask myself several times a day.

Lately, I'm letting Him confront me with my emotional attachment to certain foods. The Lord's using my new diet to expose some whining, self-pitying attitudes in me. I'm not enjoying low-oxalate eating because it's really hard finding high fiber foods that don't also have loads of oxalate. What's healthy for people who have never had kidney stones is bad for me. You can see a detailed outline of my diet at

The web page I just cited primarily deal with low-oxalate eating in connection with female problems, but many kidney stone websites refer people to this page. People with kidney stones apply it a bit differently, however. I can, as one might expect, eat several foods in the low-oxalate group each day, and a few from the medium group. Occasionally I can have a very small portion of a high-oxalate food, like a bite of chocolate or a very small bowl of Cheerios. If I do so, however, that absolutely must be my only high-oxalate that day!

This web page's chart varies slightly from the chart my doctor gave me, so where they disagree, I go by hers. Which is good because hers lists potatoes as a low-oxalate food, and I like potatoes. But I'm really struggling with the idea of never having chili again, which is my very favorite food. That's where I'm coming to the Lord asking for a changed attitude, because I find myself feeling very resentful and rebellious.

He's blessed me, though, with a recipe website called It's not a website for my type of diet (or any type of diet), but I've found a few recipes that I can adjust. Yesterday, my attendant made three twice-baked potatoes with cabbage and onion (which we'll try tonight) and a chicken-artichoke casserole. We divided it all into individual servings, and put all but tonight's potato in the freezer. Finding new recipies is an adventure, so I can praise the Lord in that activity to offset the self-pity.

Letting the Lord work in me means letting Him lead me to repentance by exposing my selfish attitudes. It's not fun, but it's more than worth it!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Associate Pastor's Wife

John took this photo of our associate pastor's wife a few years ago. In April (of this year) I started to use it as a basis for a digital painting. Just when I had it almost completed in mid-May, I accidentally merged the layers. So I had to start all over again. When our ISP went down Wednesday, I finished it. Here's the result:


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