Monday, September 27, 2010

Nothing...Really

This past weekend was fairly uneventful. We enjoyed church, especially since a missionary on furlough from Burkino Faso (his wife grew up in our church) preached. Otherwise, the two days were comfortably quiet.

And perhaps quiet is good. It lets our minds and emotions rest a bit. So, right now I'm quiet. Of course, life will pick up again, with all the interesting activity that makes it so rich and joyful. And I look forward to those moments that fill me with thoughts or create new memories, knowing that I thrive on such things!

But for now, I am quiet. Enjoy it--it never lasts long!

Friday, September 24, 2010

"That Wasn't Long Enough"

Of course, John and I spent Wednesday in Boston, feeding obstinate squirrels at the Public Garden and watching Ring's Fountain on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The meteorologist on WBZ TV said on that night's 9:00 newscast, "It was a perfect summer, and today was the cherry on top!" To see that his remark was indeed accurate, enjoy this video montage.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Think Of All The Possibilities!


All last winter, I prayed for a "perfect" summer. Of course, no season can be literally perfect, and I knew that. In fact, in my prayers, I'd often acknowledge that very fact, trusting that the Lord understood that I really meant I wanted good weather, working wheelchairs and no hospitalizations. So hey, two out of three ain't bad! All-in-all, the Lord gave me far more than I asked (and my pneumonia only kept me out of  Boston a couple weeks, really). So I'm thankful!

Thursday, as we wheeled home from the bus stop after a charming day in Boston, I looked across the street. Stopping John, I noted, "Look, that tree is already changing to its fall colors."

First Glimpse of Fall





Certainly, I felt a twinge of sadness, knowing that Autumn is a very brief season and that New England winters creep along with incredible slowness. Even when good weather returns, the snow that gets piled up at curb cuts during street and sidewalk plowing stays for weeks, keeping us from wheeling around freely. Thus, our winters become even more prolonged.

But this summer, as much as I've relished all our Boston Adventures (and I anticipate several more before the temperatures and the "evil white stuff" confine us to our apartment), I've been writing and drawing more than usual. Mostly writing, actually, but my interest in drawing has been revived. And I've been writing a few long messages to Facebook friends, or long emails to people--building relationships as best I can. Sometimes, much to my surprise, I'm actually a little reluctant to go to Boston (only a little reluctant, mind you), wanting to post a blog, work on a picture or write to a friend. 

So, Fall does signal that my "perfect" summer is  drawing to a close. But it also gives me a sense of anticipation as I think of new art projects and blog posts and conversations on email and Facebook. Winter's coming, bringing different opportunities to praise the Lord!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Problem of Mere Spirituality

The War Between Science and Spirituality Is Over (a blog post by Albert Mohler

For a while, I've been somewhat disturbed by talk of "spirituality." It seemed far too nebulous and abstract, as opposed to Christian faith that finds its foundation in Biblical doctrine. I guess my wariness about "spirituality" comes from my observation that the spirituality can become self-styled, when the Lord commands obedience to Him!

So when I read the blog post on Christianity.com (click the link at the beginning of this post) just now, I gained understanding of my apprehensions regarding this term. Albert Mohler did a truly excellent job of demonstrating just one example of how "spirituality" weakens religious conviction, undermining human obligation to the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you'll read Mohler's post. It confirms to me that I want to move beyond mere spirituality to a living faith that comes from the Lord Himself!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Someone to Follow

During lunch most days, I listen to Christian radio--specifically, Contemporary Christian. Over the past month, one song has gripped my heart, challenging my willingness to follow Jesus. He won't lead me to a Third World country, but He may lead me to the spiritually impoverished. No matter how He asks me to follow, He's worth following!


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Hows

Sometimes seeing the inner workings of a thing can enhance our appreciation of it. It's cool watching an artist start from scratch, forming colors into shapes and textures, and finally into paintings that convey emotion. Even watching my own digital art evolve from apparent blobs to expressive faces fills me with wonder. No, not a narcissistic awe of my supposed "talent," but rather an amazement that the process actually works!

Monday, I started another digital portrait. John took one look at it and said, "Boy, you like a challenge, don't you?" I didn't think the piece was particularly challenging, truthfully, but hey--if my husband wants to compliment me, let him!

Then I started working on the eyes, and I understood John's remark. My subject, whom someone photographed for me three years before her death, wore glasses. Bifocals, to be precise. And the eyes furthest from the camera is distorted by the glasses, looking more like a smudge than an eye. (Ironically, it was always this woman's eyes that spoke to me.) As I started making brush stokes, John's words stirred in my mind. Yeah, the project is going to be a challenge!

Oh, I'll conquer it!

As I do, I'm tempted to make screen shots of each step, showing how I travel from a disposable camera photo (i.e, blurry and too dark) to a gift for her daughter and son-in-law. Essentially, I'd like to create another blog that would be tutorials for digital artists, and also something non-artists and artist that use more traditional mediums could enjoy (as I enjoy On Being Frank with the artist's insights on his plein air and oil painting tips).

Who would be interested in the step-by-step "hows" of digital painting? Would the effort and time of maintaining such a blog actually interest people? Would it give other digital artists ideas? Would more traditional artists appreciate it? Let me know!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Island Of History

Yesterday, as a belated celebration of John's birthday (he turned 61 this past Sunday), we visited Fort Independence on Castle Island. Built in 1634, the Fort was originally named Castle William in honor of King William. III of England. The British controlled it until 1776, when George Washington's Continental Army forced them to evacuate. After the Revolution, its official name was Fort Adams. Between 1785 and 1805, it served as a state prison, and on December 7, 1791, President John Adams attended a ceremony during which it was named Fort Independence. It prevented the British from attacking Boston during the War of 1812.

Come with me and John as we tour the fort and watch a cargo ship come into port:

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Wisdom of Self-Love

To "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31) does  not mean, contrary to popular opinion, that you need to treat yourself to spa days, cannolis or shopping sprees so that you're better equipped to love other people. Nor is that snippet of Scripture intended to be an injunction to raise our self-esteem. 

Consider the context in which Jesus spoke these words (Mark 12:28-32). First, He addressed the immediate context of a self-righteous scribe who asked the question, not from a hunger to know God's will, but as a ploy to discredit Jesus. Second, Jesus quoted the command from Leviticus 19:17-18, which forbids taking vengeance. The Lord knew very well that the scribe already loved himself, and it's fairly safe to assume that most people in the 21st Century have the same sense of self-interest.

When John and I read Proverbs 19 this morning, the Lord surprised me with a pithy verse  that described how He wants us to love ourselves:

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
      He who keeps understanding will find good. 

                                       ~~Proverbs 19:8

Obviously, there is a form of self-love that God sanctions, but it has nothing to do with feeling good about ourselves. In fact, having the humility to recognize our sinfulness, and therefore our need for a Savior, is actually the starting place for gaining the wisdom that characterizes godly self-love. Proverbs 1:7 says that wisdom begins as we fear the Lord by taking His instructions to heart.

In other words, God's wisdom, which is really the ultimate wisdom, comes through acquainting ourselves with His perspective. How does He view human life? What are His priorities? What pleases Him? Conversely, what offends Him? Through consistent and prayerful Bible reading/study, we learn the answers to these, and many other questions. Over time, His Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures we learn to develop our understanding of His wisdom.

I do love myself. Not because I get cannolis at Quincy Market, but because I get wisdom by feasting on God's Word.

 

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