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Showing posts from 2015

Be A Light....

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Chanukah is this week. Running from Sunday night for eight days, each night observers light a candle, remembering the miracle of how an oil lamp stayed lit for eight days even though the oil was almost gone. Rabbi Angela Buchdahl from Central Synagogue, shares in the short video below the meaning of the Shamash: the candle that lights the other eight candles over the course of Chanukah. She says: "Being a Shamash might not have all the glory of being a Chanukah candle but the light that the Shamash brings is no less miraculous." Watch the video below to learn about what it means to be a Shamash, a helper of light, in your own life (and stay tuned for the three blessings as the candles are lit during Chanukah). How are you a Shamash in your part of the world?

God's love stories .. there's a movement

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There is a movement of love afoot. Maybe it's because this is what I'm looking for in order to write about it, or maybe others have decided that what we must do is combat violence and hatred is start talking about love more, start living love more.  As they've appeared on my Facebook and tumblr feeds, I've reposted them but I thought I would collect some here, with original sourcing where possible (in other words, trying to be a good internet citizen).  1) Change the World Through Love "She felt like doing her part to change the world, so she started by giving thanks for all the blessings in her life, rather than bemoaning all that was missing from it. ... Each day she lived with more gratitude, more acceptance, more kindness ..." -- Scott Stabile (from his Instagram )  http://www.scottstabile.com/   This quote (and I encourage you to read the whole thing on Scott's Instagram account) begins with acknowledging blessings, then with liking

Be Still .... Discover Love Within/Without

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"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) Stillness is a habit of love, according to Ed Bacon ( 8 Habits of Love ). It's showing love to the Divine, simply by showing up and paying attention to God. It's showing love to oneself by being generous with one's time in order to find a calm center. I really struggle with stillness. It's been a part of my Rule of Life as an Associate of OHC (Order of Holy Cross) for about four years now and still I struggle. Even 10 minutes seems an insurmountable amount of time. And I don't get it. It's something I say I want to do and yet I've yet to form the habit. One of the questions Ed Bacon asks is to reflect on times when you felt that stillness. No monkey brain thoughts, just a calm, quiet peace. In discussions with my current spiritual director, I already knew that a pleasant environment is a key part of my seeking and finding that stillness. Some examples: watching the Hudson River with

The Link between Gratitude and Generosity

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The first habit Ed Bacon talks about in The Eight Habits of Love is generosity. What I did not expect was how closely gratitude is linked to generosity. I am not a morning person. Motivation to get out of bed is hard to find, I always want a few more minutes of sleep or dozing or even lying there cozy under the blankets. Ugh, getting up. After reading the chapter on generosity, I woke to my usual grumbling internal monologue and thought, no, wait a minute, and mentally listed several several things to be grateful for, very basic things like a roof over my head, hot water for a shower... The grumbles were gone and I was out of bed and headed into my day with extra energy. Ann Voskamp  also links generosity and gratitude. Ann has been writing about gratitude for a long time, writing down list upon list of things to be grateful. Her book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are was transformative for me. I followed her example and wrote gifts ev

An Invitation ...

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I checked my email this morning to find the weekly letter from Still Forming had a very appealing announcement. I wrote the following on Facebook: Friends, there have been discussion and posts on my Facebook feed on the refugee crisis and what should or shouldn't be done. Early this week, I wanted to escape the polarization that's occurring and offer a series of reflections this Advent on love but I haven't been exactly successful in escaping the creation of more polarization on my Facebook feed. Christianne Squires (Still Forming) is offering a series of meditations on Jan Richardson's blessings ( beautiful example here ). Her e's what she says about them: "Jan's blessings are most poignant for the ways they meet us in the cracks and crevices of life, helping us find or notice the light in dark places. During a time when the world feels full of darkness, and in a season — Advent — when we are watching and waiting for the light to come, I cannot i

Hope for Peace

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Since the attacks in Paris, I've been contemplating how to respond. I've reacted aplenty: with horror and sorrow, with concern for backlash at refugees, immigrants and Muslims. I've traded comments on Facebook, shared news stories, prayers and commentary like this one: "ISIL is Weak" by Wahleed Aly (The Project, a news/comedy show in Australia). I kept getting the nudge that there was more that I could do than this, more that I could bring to heal the hurt, anger and fear. "Hope for Peace" is the beginning of that. It's closely based on a LifeBook 2015 lesson by Andrea Gomoll some weeks ago that I never got around to doing.  Glass bead gel is awesome although you can't see the shimmer really in this photo. This art journal page expresses simply my heart in that moment: to hope for peace, to bring light and joy and transformation ... Advent is almost upon us (it starts on the 30th). It is traditionally a time of expect

7 Ways to Get Jetlag (7QT)

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#1. Watch a Sondheim musical on the plane. In my case Into The Woods . Earworms stay in your head for days. "Agony". "Hello Little Girl".  "It Takes Two of Us". Ahhh ah-a-ahh a-ahhh.... You're welcome. #2. Don't take charge of your space. Like when the clanging water pipes continue to clang and you realize your neighbor is not taking an epic shower and the noise is there to stay. Don't wait until 1:00am the night before your flight to complain to the hotel's front desk. #3. Pay attention to your husband. When you wake up and he complains he can't sleep, don't give into empathy and sit up with him, no matter how much you love him. You're in business class, you can lie flat, for Pete's sake. #4. Take epic walks before your flight. So epic that the first walk has you limping and it makes you limp on day two because it feels like walking on knives. (Bonus if you can do this and not have plantar fasciitis.) Then dela

finding strength (LifeBook 2015)

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I am experimenting with watermarks on the images in this post. Mainly because I don't want them passed off as somebody else's work. So, the lesson last week in LifeBook was called "Finding Strength", presented by Donna Downey, and named after the stencil of hers that she used in the class. I was tempted to follow Tam's additional sketching instructions to create something similar, but in the end went in a completely different direction. I thought to myself, what does "finding strength" mean to me... It started with this sketch of a sweet face. And then I thought I would put in shadows and a bit of color and saw what I did, freaked out and gessoed over it. (I should have taken a picture of it in all its hideousness.) And sketched the face in again, a little bit different (the mouth is a little off-center I just noticed). Also, in my art room I have a bit of an ant problem. Well, we're having a problem in the whole house, and larg

God's Love Stories ... July edition

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Today I have mopped the kitchen and dining room floors including under the fridge because our dog recently died of kidney failure -- imagine oceans of pee. I am incredibly grateful to him that when he couldn't wait for us to get home from work, he went on the tile. So yes, I'm mourning my 16 year old dog, who we had for about 10 years of his life. Adopted as an adult with his brother who died last year ... This also might be a Sarah Bessey fan-post, because I have a large number of links from her blog. She writes really really good stuff, folks, if you don't follow her yet. It's probably way past time for me to buy her book... Who are your Somewheres ? The people you can say anything to. (Sarah Bessey) What is your motivation? (Sarah Bessey) I used to think God wanted a lot from me. (Sarah Bessey) . Oh, yeah, this one really resonated. To the young women reading "Jesus Feminist" (Sarah Bessey) Phew. Here are some other great blogs I've

Where Bloggers Create 2015

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I am going to start out by saying, I could do with a serious purge of stuff. That said, I have so much because I've flitted from scrapbooking to 3D creations (birdhouses) to fabric creations to painting on canvas to art journaling. It shows. On the other hand, I've gone from working part-time to not working to working full-time, so I know there are projects I really want to get to. (Like the Madonna art display quilt from a swap I was in several years ago.) I've taken a break from this blog party for the last couple of years, but if you want to see how my creative space has changed and developed (just in case you haven't seen enough creative spaces for one day!), you can see: in 2009 in its barest of bones (I didn't participate in the blog party, but wanted to show in 2010 how my room, which is a small third bedroom, had looked before.) in 2010 which is like a complete reveal with an additional post on my homemade hanky curtains in 2011 after an overha

What I Learned in May, June, July ...

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Which sounds like the lyrics of a song but here goes: 1) When you upgrade to OS 10.10.3 and PhotoShop Elements (6.0) crashes on trying to open jpg files to edit. What to do? Drag the files to the app icon and voila! Edit and save to your heart’s content. 2) Birthdays can last for more than one day. Sometimes up to two weeks! I have the cakes (and toasted marshmallow milkshake ) to prove it! 3) I had to be shown how to use tumblr. My Computer Science degree is officially useless. 4) Texting during the Great Silence probably counts as breaking the silence. So does, I learned, reading and writing in your journal. One is supposed to be still as well as silent. our room at Mt. Calvary monastery 5) Reading in a group "From Teilhard to Omega", a collection of essays edited by Ilia Delio. Teilhard was a Jesuit whose writings were banned but appear to have recently sprouted wings. The interesting thing I learned was that Teilhard's central theology i

Where Bloggers Create 2015 edition ... coming soon!

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I took a break for a couple of years from participating in Where Bloggers Create , although every year I lose about a day and a half of my life poring over everyone submissions. There is time to sign up if you want to share your creative space on your blog. On or around July 11 (which is when the party starts), there'll be a place on Karen's website to sign up as part of a link party. There are more details on how to do that on her site as well. So -- stay tuned! (And thanks to Sandy at Quill Cottage for posting about it!)

God's Love Stories - What a Week edition

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OK, so it just won't be links on race relations, which has been a huge topic here in the United States, but there will be other interesting blog posts as well. First, if you haven't yet watched President Obama speak at Clementa Pinckney's funeral, please do. It's 40 minutes, but it's 40 compelling minutes. Amazing grace indeed. (Start it at the 1:20 mark.) Race relations: Repenting of 'Colorblindness' by Rachel Held Evans is a powerful piece " Afterwards, a black woman approached me and with far more grace than I deserved, reminded me that to African American listeners like her the image of God as a cosmic master is not only discomforting but frightening and oppressive."   What You Can Do About Racism at Love Bids Us Welcome David, Goliath, and Emmanuel Church by Rev. Mike Angell, his sermon from last week. And just in case you haven't seen Jon Stewart's monologue on the Charleston shooting. Here it is. Murder in the Char

The role of relationships and community in my spiritual growth

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What has been the role of relationships and/or community in your spiritual growth? This question was recently posed on Facebook by Christianne Squires and I told her I could probably write an essay on it. So here it is. The roles of relationships and communities have both helped and hindered my spiritual growth. Community has hindered my spiritual growth by not teaching me. I've been a Christian from the cradle. I would say I spent the first half (currently) of my life not really getting Christianity. When your Christian education consists of some Sunday School and a confirmation class (where I was taught things my current church teaches to pre-K and elementary school aged children), it shouldn't be a surprise that I didn't really get it. I'd never been educated beyond a kindergarten level and somehow I was expected to know why it was so important to worship God and what exactly that entailed. I was taught nothing beyond "come to Sunday worship&qu

Answer Me This: Summer time ...

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I've never done this Q&A before, but it seemed a fun thing to do while waiting for paint to dry. (Golden's high flow acrylics are VERY high flow. I have artistic puddles drying. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) 1. Any big plans for the summer? A quiet summer this year. Am spending a long weekend in Santa Barbara at Mt. Calvary Monastery. It's my once a year trip. (Now that I work full time, it's once a year.) The rest of the summer, I will be working to prepare for my vacation later this year. 2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child? I believed many strange things. I was pretty sure there was a hungry dingo under my bed. 3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride) Fantasyland is my favorite part of Disneyland. I love the carousel and the Peter Pan ride there. My favorite in California Adventure is the Toy Story Mania and Grizzly River Run. I don't do the big ro

A post about art ...

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OK, so I have been somewhat distracted by this little, year-long class called Life Book 2015 . I haven't had time to reflect on the week's Gospel passages or, well, anything beyond the occasional link of other people's content because I have been making art, and making it a habit. And I confess that I have also been hooked on TV shows like Game of Thrones , Scandal and Ripper Street . I love how Shona Rimes speaks to the issues of the day The best thing about Life Book 2015 for me has not just been learning new ways to draw faces, which was my main reason, but it has made art a habit. It was something I did maybe once a month, now it's almost every week, and if I can't make it to my art room, I am thinking about it. I wanted to share my version of last week's lesson. It was taught by Tamara Laporte. It was the second male face I've drawn. I stuck pretty close to Tam's example: it's her composition, her method, her template for drawing a male

Being Present: Are we at Pentecost yet?

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Just kidding. Today's post is a list of links to good reads, starting with: Read this one post if you don't read anything else on this list: You're already so loved by Sarah Bessey, and then hold those words in your heart. Rachel Held Evans' series: "The Women of Holy Week" (and yes, I didn't read it until after Easter Day): Why the Women Matter The Woman At Bethany Anoints Jesus Mary's Heart is Pierced (Again) The Women Wait Mary Sees the Risen Lord Here are some other Eastery links about being present that really resonated with me: Love Yourself by Maria Kane at 50 Days of Fabulous Can I Get A Witness?? by Brian Cole at 50 Days of Fabulous was just funny (and so honest for this Episcopalian) Love, Light and Life by Mary Wright Baylor at 50 Days of Fabulous (this is a blog dedicated to continuing to reflect on and celebrate the Easter season) 10 Mantras to Help You Choose Love by Liz Lamoreux Why are We Unloving? at God i

Things I Learned in April

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In April, I learned: 1) I learned how to make Matzah Crack, aka chocolate caramel/toffee crackers. waiting for the chocolate to harden caramel on top of matzah in the oven - got to watch it to make sure it doesn't burn I made two batches. You should too . (Recipe is from smitten kitchen .) I'm saving the final packet of Matzah for Pentecost, although there's still a ton of Matzah in my local grocery store. 2) I learned how to read a theological book . (which I kind of already knew, but still) 3) I learned that there are many awesome Passover parodies of "Uptown Funk" but no Christian ones (so I wrote one) 4) I learned that I love the color teal. 5) I learned that if you press down on the plastic thingy right by the blade of the paper cutter you get a straight line! (how long have I been using these things?!) 6) I learned how to play Apples to Apples and had the best fun ever! The standard and Biblical sets were mixed. For the category &

Lest We Forget

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ANZAC Day is an important day, lodged deep in the Australian psyche. It was a day where I don't do much beyond making ANZAC biscuits (cookies). My brothers and the other boy cousins went off to the dawn services with fathers and our grandfather and then go drink beer at the RSL (Retired Serviceman's League) afterward. It means a lot, not just to remember those who died for their country and ideals and those who made it home. For me personally, it illustrates the utter horrific waste of life. My grandfather survived WWII, which he never talked about. We never even knew that he'd been to San Diego until he met my then-soon-to-be-husband. I couldn't get home for his funeral, but I wrote something to be read and then I turned it into an art journal page. He was handsome, eh?

Being Present: the 50 Days of Easter

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After announcing I was giving up other people’s approval for Lent, you might have noticed I didn’t do much blogging. Much was going on, much processing, and I thought I would unpack all that, but today, just a little bit and a looking ahead. Yesterday started the 50 Days of Easter. Easter is not just one day, but a season of rejoicing. And it’s more than that too, I’ve come to realize. I think as a child I intuitively knew this because I was that child who hoarded her Easter eggs until May. But Easter is not about hoarding. It’s not about ekeing out the chocolate , the love and grace given to us on that day two thousand years ago and every day since. It's an abundant gift that always is renewing. I spent Lent giving up people's approval for Lent. There were some spectacular failures in that, but without them, I would not have been open to realizing what comes next. It was the Maundy Thursday service, and Monica gave a sermon inspired by the Holy Spirit. It