Thursday, October 20, 2016

#Write31Days: 21 • park

Friday 21 October: park

Five Minute Friday host Kate Motaung provided today's park prompt.

There's a revered history of municipal and other public parks in the USA. This topic is a where do I start challenge! National Parks I've visited and loved include Capitol Reef, Zion, and Bryce in Utah. Chincoteague and Assateague in Virginia are part of the National Seashore, similar to parks in recreational promise. Smoky Mountain National Park in Gatlinburg and environs, Tennessee. All of those take multi-day excursions from almost anywhere you live, though I guarantee they are more than worth the planning, the expense, the time. I believe every state in the USA has designated state parks that are less expansive and extensive than national parks, but still remain in the special trip together category. Small local parks—some not more than an acre or two or three. You've enjoyed a few! A couple months ago I visited famous medium-sized Griffith Park that's both a tourist and a local attraction. But for this FMF I'll feature Grand Park in downtown Current City. My header pic provides a sample of the bright street furniture where people hang out to read, visit, eat lunch, draw, play, study, and pray during the day.

Define park? Let's try a section of land set apart for human and critter pleasure, filled with well-cared for plants, flowers, paths, benches, shelters from sun, heat, rain, wind...

five minute friday button

#Write31Days: 20 • weekend

Digitized analog photograph by Kasia Górska;

graphic presentation by my suntreeriver design identity.

Thursday 20 October: weekend

Concepts and practices of work week, weekend, vacation, holiday came alive in the wake of the industrial revolution. I've always been happiest about my employment when I haven't been trying to a rock so-called standard Western Monday – Friday, daylight hours, Saturday – Sunday (weekend) off. Needless to say, I still recognize the need for maintaining work / rest / play / socialize / solitude balance. Whenever I served in local churches, Saturday and Sunday were heavy duty work days with tying together worship and sermon prep on Saturdays, teaching, leading or assisting at worship, sometimes preaching on Sundays. During M - F I tried my (very) best to schedule a sabbath day or half day most weeks, to arrange social and recreational activities that about half the time included church friends and members, otherwise people I knew from other places.

Considering weekend as a general concept instead of a being permanently anchored only to Saturday and Sunday, activities including sabbath, participant and/or observer sports, beaches, museums, zoos, concerts, and restaurant outings all can contribute to weekending sensibilities. A marked departure from your activities related to you paid work is the main idea.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

#Write31Days: 19 • notice

Wednesday 19 October: notice

The vacation bible school curriculum we used in Previous City asked the kids ("campers") to look around themselves, outside themselves, and notice "God Sightings" throughout the day and report them to their class at church. The theologian in me wants to remind everyone God's presence is hidden, paradoxical, free and elusive. In fact most often we don't notice God was there in a special manner in a place, setting, or situation until afterwards when we look back and begin assessing and appreciating what we experienced. As God told Moses, "You cannot see my face; you only can see my back." In other words, you only can tell that I have been there in retrospect, after the God Event is over.

This coming Sunday for my adult SS class we're discussing one more lectionary (RCL Pentecost 23C) reading from the pastoral epistle 2 Timothy. Although it's not officially within the formal canon of Paul/Saul of Tarsus's undisputed letters, one Pauline characteristic it retains and exploits is the manner in which the author – who presents 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy as Paul's retrospective life summary testimony – is the recognition of the constant presence of Jesus Christ along with the power and work of the Holy Spirit. Look around you and notice! God Sightings!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#Write31Days: 18 • neighbor

Tuesday 18 October: neighbor

This is a month long series of unedited free writes, but ya know what? I'm going to copy/paste from my urban wilderness blog where I keep notes and handouts from classes I've facilitated, from a few someone else has led but I've participated in. Why? Not only did year C – Luke's Year – in the Revised Common Lectionary bring us Good Sam earlier this fall; I've been discussing a lot of Jeremiah with my adult SS class, a whole lot about the neighborly tradition of Deuteronomy that's so very consent with Jeremiah's theology and prophecy. Calling it "neighborology." I linked to the entire post, and this excerpt sure ain't five minutes' worth, but in this torn, tattered, weary, war-mongering world, all of us need to acknowledge everyone is a neighbor.

Neighborology: the Word about the Neighbor – Jeremiah / Deuteronomy

As sometimes happens, the RCL brings us texts closely related to the events of the past week in the USA. First, a relatively rare excursion into Deuteronomy, the covenantal, neighborly – neighborology – text par excellence, very much in the tradition of Jeremiah, despite its long historical sweep.

Deuteronomy is one of the five books of the Pentateuch, Ha Torah, the books of the law. However, rather than being rigidly legalistic, practicing Torah is a fluid, stretchy, flexible enterprise that's always on the side of grace, mercy, love, and distributive justice. Despite its being in the covenantal tradition of Jeremiah, Deuteronomy is compiled from sources that range over about five centuries, from the United Monarchy of Saul, David, and Solomon at least through the Babylonian exile and likely into the post-exilic period of Persian hegemony. Deuteronomy moves beyond theory and ideas to practice and reality, showing us covenantal neighborology in action. Deuteronomy demonstrates Torah neighborology lived out on turf and in time.

Deuteronomy 30:14 "No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe."

Better translation is "the word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart and you will do it." Double meaning of commandment and promise on You will do it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

#Write31Days: 17 • study

Monday 17 October: study
"Ain't a-gonna study war no more.
Save the country.
Save the people.
Save the children.
Save the country.

–Laura Nyro
For some prompts in this October five minute free write series I've designed new illustrations; for some I've posted only my series button. One of the beach houses in the Truro trio has become part of several new web graphics. This header image is the dining room from the parsonage in City of History. BTW, nowadays people usually talk about the pastor's "office," but in former times it always was the pastor's study. This dining room only had the semi-lean-to bookshelves and nothing else, so I didn't exactly ever "study" there. This also is one of my fave photos. Originally it was a Polaroid® scan? No, the original was a Polaroid® snapshot. I've done some truly amazing things to enliven it and added styles and pop in Photoshop.

So despite being a seminarian I didn't study in that room. Where did I study? At work, at school, at the coffee shop. The usual places. What was my formal course of study in school at that time? According to my "about" page on this blog it was "justice, righteousness, and Jesus." So that means whatever my interests, I ain't a gonna study war no more, no where, no way. I never ever did.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

#Write31Days: 16 • little

Intro:I've probably mentioned Creative Market's weekly freebies of 6 graphic design assets. If you're an artist, artistic, a designer, scrapbooker, blogger or teacher, you could use a lot of them, so you might want to add Creative Market to your weekly calendar as I finally did. Even if your software doesn't support open type, it is so worth it. This microbus was from Watercolor Travel Set by Kristy Kvilis, a Creative Market offering earlier this year.

"Little" is the prompt. As buses go, this VW van is small. It is tiny. Some people used to call these "micro-buses." Did you ever read Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful? It has been a long while since I read it, but a neighbor advised me to be sure to read Small Is Beautiful, to learn how beautiful small can be before starting seminary. The late Robert Farrar Capon liked to remind us God saved only the last, the least, the little, and the lost. words that describe everyone at times, at least now and then. What is it about little? Small? Micro? Kristy illustrated her Volkswagen (as in the regular people, the little people, the plain folk) with a surfboard alongside. MIcrobuses were such a surfer transportation rage, and some surfers still work them. Elsewhere in the Watercolor Travel Set, Kristy included hibiscus lei flowers with her microbus. The whole organic, basic, homemade, house-made, locally grown, neighborhood sourced earthbound lifestyle. I'm out of minutes—and I don't mean phone minutes. But please consider trying to be littler, to lighten up all around and live littler, too.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

#Write31Days: 15 • move

Saturday 15 October: move

Why not write about the time-worn, exciting (to me) experience of a move to another house, apt, flat, condo? Maybe in a different part of town, a different city, state or country? I'm one of those rare people who loves to move, but by that I mean sorting through everything, donating and discarding what no longer works (even if I've lived in that place only a sweet few months), packing up the keepers, and then making a way into a new mode of waking up mornings, turning in late evenings, savoring breakfast, probably painting a few walls and finding a handful of new or new to me decorations.

That's what I love to do, "love" as in a high level of commitment to the activity. Preferably staying put for a year or two or three, but not necessarily if something better offers itself. What I do not love, like, condone, or more than tolerate is having a lot of my belongings in storage. As usual, before leaving Previous City I intentionally sorted and donated more than I'd care to list here or anywhere, and in the process, three of the pieces I'd planned to keep forever disappeared, though it's a long sad story that's not as simple as it may appear on screen. I am tired and weary and fed up with the spare bed, extra room, stray couch routine. One of my housemates from three (I think, but not sure how to count) abodes ago texted me knew what I meant because she'd worked as a buyer of international goods and knew about – insert long list of expensive, costly, rare, pricey china, paintings, textiles, artifacts. That's not at all, not remotely what I meant. I want to live with my $10 set of stoneware and the pictures I bought at 99 Cents Only.

Friday, October 14, 2016

#Write31Days: 14 • mail

Friday 14 October: mail

Way back in the day, I had AOL dialup and though I usually turned down my sound so didn't hear a thing unless I had headphones on, I really liked "You've got mail!" Because electronic mail, e-mail, or email (current usual truncated spelling) was something new and novel to me and to everyone.

But what a treasure slow mail, sometimes called "snail mail" has become. Just as in the olden days, looking at the postmark and stamp transports you to that city or country. Ever notice even with everything overseas going via air, europeans and asians typically use lighter-weight paper? Their handwriting is different too, but people also learn different styles of cursive or manuscript in different parts of North America, too. Midwestern Scrawl? California Casual? Taking the message out of the envelope after opening it carefully was a heartfelt, time-honored ritual. But what if we're not talking friendly letters from aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, or penpals? I'm not including bills or collection notices in this post, but every so often a piece of snail mail would be more disheartening and devastating than exciting. So that's fiendly mail rather than friendly?

I have several differently numbered Dead Letter Office fonts; for my illustration I chose continental USA places New York, New York (NYC) because what's not enticing and exciting about The Big Apple? If you're been reading this blog you'll know my heart is in Detroit because the Motor City, Motown never will lose my heart and my affections, though most likely I won't move there because of the weather. Buzzards Bay, near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. An unexpectedly funky name for a town, and think how well you could depict the town's name?

This is a Five Minute Friday post from Kate Motaung, so I'm including her mail blog button.

five minute friday button

Thursday, October 13, 2016

#Write31Days: 13 • aware

Thursday 13 October: aware

Taking 5 to consider aware, esp my own awareness levels.

As I sometimes stroll, sometimes zoom through my work days and through the urban streets around here, at times I observe and clearly notice every single solitary little tiny detail of everything surrounding me. Other times I don't have the remotest awareness of even the large, big, overwhelming scenario over my head, under my feet, by my side.... seems as if I tend to one angle or the other. Is that good? Or is it bad? Neither, I'd say, but it helps me to know because in some cases one needs to be a better (participant)-observer, at other times blissful unawareness is fine. I like to attend the weekly half-hour long Mindfulness Meditation at the Hammer Museum. The idea behind mindfulness is not necessarily being aware and – mindful – of the people, things, and events around me (though it can include that, of course). It's to immerse yourself more fully in the moment, which starts with being aware of what your body's doing as you breathe, as you sit, as your heart beats, your ears hear.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#Write31Days: 12 • sky

Tuesday 11 October: sky

Carl Sandburg says, "I tell you there is nothing in the world. Only an ocean of tomorrows, a sky of tomorrows." Williams Faulkner reminds us how the past keeps overtaking us minute by minute, so it's as here and now as it ever was there and then. In case, in every case, the sky above us is vast and limitless and endless. God made a firmament and declared it good. The commentator asks, "what's a firmament?" Beyond the heavenly canopy above us as a sort of unit of measurement – boundless, endless, etc. – more than anything the sky is a wonder. Tucson is an astronomical dark sky area. Look up in the sky! Lie on the city roof bak on Clark Street. Not nearly as many stars to see as out in the country, but the stars, the night, the moon, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus planets all proclaim a Creator. Who is not us, to echo Tucson poet Richard Shelton in his Totem,
while it is still night
with morning around the edges
I will take the face of dawn
in my hands and say it

surely if I can tell anyone
I can tell her
that I have found
the gods and discovered
I am not one of them

The Sky. Blue serenity, thunderclouds. Funnel clouds. North Atlantic skies brewing up a storm over earth, on land.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

#Write31Days: 11 • thanks

Tuesday 11 October: thanks

A Song of Thanksgiving for Today

Thank You! for giving us the mornings
Thank you! for the rising of the sun
Thank You! for food on the table
for companions who help make it tastier
thank you for church on Sundays
cities that are more than fun
thank you! for work that pays us
thanks for beauty, tasty veggies
fruits and berry bounty all resound
Thank You! for Harvest Feast and celebrations
Thank You! for county fairs all year round