Around the feast of the Epiphany, some churches prayerfully provide a word for that year to anyone who requests one. Like the heavenly stars the magi who visited Jesus at epiphany followed, the individual tracks the word throughout that calendar year by looking around for evidence of it, writing about it, talking it up, dreaming of it...
Thanks to the pdf Margaret Feinberg created and offered everyone, stillness will be the oneword or starword to guide me through 2020.
• My December 2019 highlights feature Advent and Nativity.
• The sled painted by Heather Bolinder of painting pain dot com (her website's waiting for action); over the years I've added decorations, including a few this year on the left side as the sleigh faces the world.
• Program cover design for this year's Lessons & Carols on Advent 2. Covers for Lessons & Carols, Neighborhood Outreach, and Christmas Eve have some common elements but don't quite equal a campaign.
• Late afternoon of Advent 3, I attended a wonderful concert at a friend's church in nearby Torrance; she sings in the choir, so was part of the presentation. It's a big church with many musical groups, and they did up everything splendidly. Here's some of the chancel decor.
• Program cover from 1st Church Torrance Advent 3 concert. Tasty snacks afterwards, too.
• Bokeh style lights are pretty much obligatory this time of year, so here are some for my blog readers.
• I didn't get a picture, but on Sunday Advent 4 our weekly brunch featured Ye Olde Fashioned Christmas Dinner. So many wonderful dishes I couldn't sample everything—I doubt anyone did!
• Nativity Eve worship program cover. The choir music was close to another Lessons & Carols in splendor and extent.
• For November, Reboots Podcaster Tracy L Winchell offered a participatory 30 Days to Gratitude 2019; instead of Facebook updates like many do during November (I'm still on FB sabbatical) I tweeted several times a day. First gratitude was realizing though ideally I would have done an analog version in a notebook with a pretty cover because nothing compares to your ideas, thoughts, or drawings going from head to heart to hand to paper, it felt good to tweet to the world and to accompany some of those tweets with a picture.
• Did four fall weeks of intentional gratitude change my life? No—because I still need to work on moderating my constant habit of rationalizing what's going not badly because things always could be so much worse; and yes, because noticing and noting those things that form the micro-infrastructure of our days helped me acknowledge it's okay and it's necessary to keep doing so. Sensory stuff like colors, scents, tastes, flavors, and sounds can make the difference that lets you (me, anyone) keep on keepin' on. Fresh berries on my morning cereal; streaming music while I'm working; actually stopping to smell the roadside flowers; admiring a color palette I just created.
• The gratitude challenge also confirmed I need to find ways to make life changes that will lead to more participation in the greater good.
• Every week I download Creative Market's design asset freebies; with pictures from my camera, phone, or my artistic/design ventures always a major aspect of my monthly updates, I'm including my own photoshopped version of a fun camera from a Creative Market vendor.
• Another Saturday trip to the nearby Torrance Farmers Market! Their fruits and veggies always look soooo good... these peaches come from the previous peaches seller.
• For All Saints, church sponsored a Saturday evening showing of the movie COCO; our Sunday morning display included some cultural pieces from Latino/a culture.
• With judicatory office complex no longer having an on-campus school, the amazing kids' art I used to photograph no longer is there, but here's a lovely Wild Rose I might – or might not have noticed – during the days of Window Art.
• The church's year of grace concluded with a celebration of the Reign of Christ. This interpretation of the cosmic Christ of Colossians 1:17 is one of my all-time faves of my own liturgical art.
• Lunch at Subway a few times a week has become a savory habit that reminds me whatever's going on or not, some sensory pleasure truly can improve the situation. I particularly love the fresh local veggies at all the LA area Subways, and I always add most of the salad bar to my sandwiches.
• My fifth Thanksgiving Day at church! Fifth Thanksgiving Day in LA! One of the families has amazing gardens of every kind—flowers, veggies, ornamental plants. Here's a sample of the table centerpieces created with succulents from their place.
• Beanie Baby Tom Turkey is one of my regular Thanksgiving blog illustrations.
• Theo Therapy Dog enjoyed dinner with us; his mom was flute and vocal soloist for before-dinner worship.
The reason for the title? Author Brent Bill tells us, "Beauty, truth, life, and love move us beyond doing life and faith correctly into doing them well." Love, life, truth, and beauty are among the attributes of God; logically, created-in-the-divine-likeness humanity (by grace!) has gotta rock those characteristics, too. Lyrical, homespun, and mellow, closer to an idea book or a guide book than a manual of instructions, at not much longer than one hundred pages Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love is small enough to slip into a pocket or purse to accompany you into the field.
Brent gives his readers an intro that contrasts ideal and abundance, followed by – not surprisingly – a chapter for each title topic, with a conclusion about interweaving all four. My favorite part is the embedded reflections: Beauty Rest; Testing for True; Life Lines; Love Letters. Society of Friends/Quaker pastor Brent's perspective clearly is Christian, but not exclusively so, definitely not obnoxiously so—you probably know what I mean by that. With the year's main gift-giving season only a few weeks away, anyone (yes, that's anyone anywhere) would enjoy the universal appeal of the anecdotes and stories from Brent's own experience.
Are you ready to read this new book and write about your own discoveries of Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love?
Notice of material connection: As a member of the book launch team, I received a pre-publication copy of this book with no requirement or expectation to write a positive review. As always, my opinions are my own.
• Roxy Kitteh flew from DFW through PHX to SAN nine years ago!
• It's been far too long since I blogged blueberries (or any berries), so here's some for this year as the berries season slows and concludes.
• As a church geek, theology geek I had to celebrate Reformation Day 502. I didn't get a bulletin cover designed for my church this time, but upcycled a design from a previous year for this blog and for twitter. Really appropriate since again I discussed the Jeremiah pericope with my SS class. Can you say "neighborology"? Can you live neighborology?