Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughtful Boy's Completion

I'll spare everyone the nitty-gritty details of my techniques, mostly because I'm tired of this project and just wanted it finished! I think he turned out pretty well, considering little boys really aren't as fun for me to draw as women and little girls. But hey...I gave myself a challenge when I began this drawing four months ago, and I met that challenge! That accomplishment makes it worth the effort.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oliiver Wendell Holmes of Beacon Street

After a lunch in Back Bay's Copley Plaza yesterday, John opened my guidebook about literary landmarks in Boston, and we saw that the house of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was on the Back Bay section of Beacon Street.

Admittedly, I haven't yet read any of Holmes' poetry or essays. My high school history teacher lionized his son, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., as probably the greatest Supreme Court justice to ever write an opinion, but I'd never encountered the senior Holmes until I read The Dante Club two years ago. Holmes, along with James Russe
ll Lowell, William Dean Howells and Charles Eliot Norton, assisted Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in forming the first American translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy. (I'm currently reading said translation.)

Still, I wanted to see the house. So we wheeled down Dartmouth Street to Beacon Street, crossed, and turned left to look for #296. We asked a puzzled letter-carrier where it was. She replied that it's a private fact, her friend lives there. We told her that Oliver Wendall Holmes had once lived there; she gave us that glazed look that most people give us when we mention people of historical and/or literary significance. Sad.

So we continued on our quest, with me feeling like a groupie searching for the home of a rock star. If I therefore qualify as a nerd, so be it.

We found the house. Of course, it's probably been altered several times over since Holmes Sr. died in 1894, but I think it looks like the sort of house he would have owned. The dark brown door and angled cornice seem to bear testimony to the magnitude of Holmes legacy. I found the house very satisfying!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Searching for Longfellow, But Finding Much More

A couple years ago I read The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl (great book for mystery lovers as well as anyone interested in 19th Century Bostonian literature). The book's protagonists included Oliver Wendall Holmes Sr., James Russell Lowell and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and mentions several places in Boston and Cambridge. One such location the book mentioned was Mount Auburn Cemetary in Cambridge, where all three men are now buried.

Since yesterday was a beautiful spring day, John and I grabbed his camera and headed for Cambridge with the purpose of visiting Longfellow's tomb. Having taken our phone call asking about wheelchair access to his gravesite earlier that morning, a staff member greeted us with a map showing a possible wheelchair route.

The first leg of the route was easy, and spectacular. The graves, tombs and
mausoleums nestled on exquisite landscaping, enhanced by a symphony of bird songs. Some grave markers carried on the simple Puritan style that I've come to know at The Old Grainary Burial Ground in Boston.

Others, however, were more lavish. One, in particular, makes me wonder if some of Thomas Kinkade's paintings were inspired by these grounds.

The various views astounded me. As we worked our way toward Indian Ridge (the path that would lead us to Longfellow's tomb) we spotted a pond onramented with neoclassical architecture that made me feel as if we were wandering through a fairy tale garden rather than a cemetery.

In all fairy tales, however, there comes an arduous task before reaching the goal. We found Indian Ridge, which was a long, narrow path. Since there are aspects of that part of the journey that I wouldn't want repeated to either of our mothers, I refuse to share the details, but I will say that the Lord comforted me through the most difficult parts by reminding me of Psalm 23.

About half way up to Longfellow's tomb, we had a break from the narrowness. We stopped on a bridge over a meditation area that we had
viewed from the ground level earlier. What a pretty place to stop and rest!

As we continued our trek, I wanted to give up. I was sore from driving on such tough terrain, and it was well past lunch time. But just as I opened my mouth to tell John I wanted to turn back, I told myself we had come too far to quit.

We kept driving our chairs up the hill. All of a sudden, I glanced to my right to see a almost too simple sarcophagus that had the one word, "Longfellow," engraved on it. I had expected more architecture to adorn it, but it was punctuated only by two flower bushes (which attracted bees so huge that I decided not to be in the picture).

I prayed a while at the grave, and then we went back down. We agreed that we would never again visit any graves on Indian Ridge!

But we also agreed that we'll visit Mount Auburn Cemetery again. It's the most beautiful place I've ever seen. For a moment, I caught myself wondering if heaven looks like that.

Then I remembered: Heaven is infinitely more beautiful! I can only hope that Lowell. Holms and Longfellow have heaven as their final resting place.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Things I've Learned About Marriage...So Far!

After my first few months as John's wife, I arrogantly believed myself to be fairly educated on the nature and workings of Christian marriage. But as John and I look forward to our seventh anniversary in August, I hope I've developed some humility about the matter. For the truth is that I've learned a few important things since leaving that church building on that late-summer afternoon.

For example, I've learned that the basic manners Mom taught me when I was a child are particularly important in my daily interactions with my husband. Simple phrases like "please," "thank you" and "I'm sorry" communicate respect. Although he vowed to be with me "till death us do part," I need to treat him with even more respect and courtesy than I would extend to a house guest.

Going along with the theme of respect, I've learned that my problems with John stay between us and the Lord. There may come a time when we'll need to go to a pastor or a counselor. I know of a man who's currently finding it necessary to see a marriage counselor without his wife (who's unwilling to accept instruction), and I admire his initiative. But in the conflicts that John and I have had up to this point, talking to girlfriends would be detrimental to our marriage. What happens between us stays between us!

As I planned this blog this morning, I asked John to forgo our morning ritual of listening to Focus On The Family so I could run this third "lesson" by him (I didn't want him to misinterpret it to mean that I'd fallen out of love with him--I haven't). I've learned, however, that the fluttery giddiness that I felt as a new bride has developed into a quiet contentment. Sometimes, I miss the euphoria, certainly. But I sure like knowing I belong to John.

I can think of a few other points, but it's getting late and the point I just made dovetails nicely into the lesson I wanted as the conclusion to this blog entry. I've learned, through marriage, to glimpse Christ's love for his Church through John's love for me.

Eph 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oh, To See As He Sees!

One of the missionaries our church supports just emailed me this video about an artist in Turkey who was born without eyes. Although it's a fairly lengthy video, I think you'll wish it was longer! I wish my paintings had half the genius his have!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thoughtful Boy's Progress

I've been plugging away at Thoughtful Boy. Not as often or diligently as I should, but I guess my preoccupation with Facebook has been the culprit. Still, I've made some progress, so I thought I'd let you see how many layers I have now.
What? You're more interested in how the boy looks? Well, gee--isn't the Layer Palette interesting enough? You can't just use your imaginations? I guess you have a point. And you're giving me a wonderful excuse to show off my stuff!


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