Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Season of Creation 2B • Humanity

Season of Creation 2B - Humanity

You have made them
a little lower than God
and crowned humanity
with glory and honor.
Psalm 8:5

Original B&W faces art by Prawny via RGB Stock; recolored by me in my suntreeriver design identity.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

It's Momplicated :: Debbie Alsdorf & Joan Kay

On Amazon—It's Momplicated: Hope and Healing for Imperfect Daughters of Imperfect Mothers by Debbie Alsdorf and Joan Edwards Kay

It's Momplicated front coverThis is a most amazing book! Co-authors Debbie and Joan have solid psychological and scriptural backgrounds, so "It's Momplicated" is super-sound in terms of contemporary psychological practices; it's firmly grounded in Old and New Testament scriptures. Everyone needs to read it and gain more wisdom regarding relationships, though authors and launch team particularly focused on women because even mother-daughter relationships that have experienced lifelong sweetness never are quite perfect. As a grateful member of the launch team, for me the best aspect of the book (so far) are short case studies or vignettes that help clarify what's within a normal range and what's way far outside normal, expected, and acceptable.

Without delving into much of my own pain or history, I've previously mentioned learning about some of my late mother's history and struggles has helped me understand her in general along with providing perspective on her often outrageous, hurtful, treatment of me. Though like every human she had her faults, my maternal grandmother was an almost constant nurturing presence from my early years until her death at 96 years old; by the time I reached high school, she'd often comment on some of my mother's – her elder daughter's – out of line behaviors. Page 33: "When we realize our mothers faced difficulties, we may think it insensitive to acknowledge our wounds. ... However, the fact your mother faced personal trials does not remove the reality your needs were not met." We can carry over this realization to all sides of all our relationships.

Ideas I plan to start implementing right away include: page 54–realizing when we're not doing something or thinking about something in particular, our minds return to a default network; page 64—not so much focusing on my mother's mistakes as on my needs as a daughter and taking positive steps toward healing; page 72—when an event or rejection triggers negative feelings, ask if it's a legitimate concern or not.It's Momplicated back cover

Besides rich revelations related to both authors' mom-daughter situations and those of anonymous others, we get many opportunities to put the Serenity Prayer into practice, an "Explore Your Story," and a written "Connect with God" prayer for each of the dozen chapters. It's Momplicated is a prayer book, a journaling opportunity, and a workbook. As I plan to do my second time through, I'd strongly suggest starting a new journal book or spiral-bound notebook (my choice for serious life reflections), or whatever format works best for you to take best advantage of the content.

Notice of material connection: I received a free pre-publication copy of this book from author, publicist, agent, or publisher with no obligation to write a positive review. As always, I've expressed my own opinions in this review.

my Amazon review: relational wisdom

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Porch Stories :: August & Summer 2018

summer summary header

• Time to summarize another meteorological season and review the month almost past! I've been neglecting writing a weekly Porch Story and haven't blogged anything else. Most often I pick up the same topic as Porch Stories host Kristin, but despite formatting my porch header image at least a dozen times for a post that never happened, as August concludes with a seasonally sunny southern California day and urban foresters noisily trimming magnolias up and down the street, I'll claim two of Kristin's recent themes:
• trusting the time keeper

• changes and seasons

• and I'm participating in Emily P. Freeman's summer 2018 seasonal linkup.

porch stories Changes and Seasons summer 2018 blueberries August 2018 porch story

• Today (I'm illustrating more blueberries because they've been abundant and succulent) I finally link up again with Kristin's Stories from the Porch in August. I love how she divides her months into categories!

• Although this month's overview is image- rather than text-heavy (but not because of the old Photoshop sub-app ImageReady), its progression from the 2nd to the 28th plus August including outings and activities provides you, the blog visitor, a sense of trusting the Time Keeper and Life Giver with changes and seasons. At the end I don't say any more about this journey, about railroad tracks, or about homecoming, yet all those were all over desert spirit's fire! during my last few years in Previous City. You can look under labels tell the story, tellingthestory, and life stuff.

• To say I'm still extremely discouraged is an understatement, yet symbols as ordinary as a stack of dishes on the shelf (color-filled stock photo from unsplash, but I could've pictured kitchen actuals), the agricultural cycle doing its thing, the church's year of grace keepin' on keepin' on till by now it's run three-quarters of its course continue to remind me to trust the Divine Time Keeper who self-reveals in commonest everyday objects and events, whose claims to fame include subverting the status quo and resurrection from the dead. (If resurrection isn't "subverting a status quo," what could it be, what could be?) Not long ago friend Sara I met in Previous City when we were neighbors blogged about praying intently and incessantly for a couple of years about a situation, almost decided the Time Keeper must have gotten things wrong (so for a short while almost rejected God's surprise answer), then by grace realized it was Heaven's gig, not hers or her family's. This sixteen plus year long blog (still!) remains my testimony to my life being Heaven's gig, not mine...

mid-August railroad tracks

• Railroad tracks are a major new world icon. Visiting Promontory Point was a touristy highlight of my entire life—or minimally of my mixed reviews years in A Former City in the Intermountain West. Railroad tracks are the Wolverine and the New England States humming underneath my berth (riding the train because logically that meant we were rich so didn't need to consider time passages, ha ha (and to minimize chances of another of "Lost Luggage in Cleveland" incident?).) Maybe. Train tracks mean Previous City to Current City to Previous City.... on the Amtrak. Train tracks mean waiting for the Buddliner south to North Station on a snowy late December evening in Salem; they're endless freight cars alongside the freeway as we returned home from Idaho late on a Sunday evening; countless freight cars accompanying our drive back to Previous City from any of JS's many concerts late on any weekday evening. More than anything, railroad tracks still are Al Stewart singing, "Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight." Name of the song? Time Passages! This photo pictures the tracks around the corner from where I'm living; the header for another of my other recent monthly rundown blogs featured tracks around the corner from my place in South Central.

Painting Day at church

• First Saturday in August at church we hosted a visit from famous artist John August Swanson and a demonstration of woven paintings from our office manager. I've finally divided my notebook portfolio into five sections, and showed off two to John August. I'd describe him as "beyond excited and impressed" with what I'd done.

Glendale August

• Green Team met again in Glendale. No excellent art or other fun stuff from the resident school, but I captured some greenery in late summer glory.

Hermosa Beach Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach Hermosa Beach

• A short post-Glendale side trip to the Farmer's Market in Hermosa (lovely, beautiful, gorgeous) Beach and still more examples of what a major architectural treat Current City can be.

Hollywood Bowl banner Hollywood Bowl entryway
Hollywood bowl Hollywood Bowl

• The morning of Tuesday 21 August at Hollywood Bowl, "Where Summer Plays," meant huge excitement of an open rehearsal with LA Phil, Gustavo Dudamel The Dude, guest violinist Itzhak Perlman. Two famous pieces formed the program: Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony No. 6 and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. Parks and Recreation oversees or manages – or both – Hollywood Bowl.

moon flower dry seedpods eight moon flowers moon flower seedpod and seeds

• Backyard bed of moonflowers has been constantly interesting as I've watched spiky fresh green pods full of unready seeds gradually turn brown and then burst open. First picture on kitchen table shows how open pods form graceful flutes; next pic is from the morning of 28 August and a rare total of eight new blooms; third is an open pod and seeds beside the garden bed. Pods won't and can't break open until the seeds inside are ready to open them; the seeds won't be ready until sufficient time has passed. Etc. You know!

• Moonflowers/ datura have been a daily reminder of trusting the time keeper plus trusting changes and seasons. I need to figure out an analogy in my own life to the flowers that bloom mid-evening, stay bright and wide open only until the next mid-morning, yet always always, more are on the way, now and then missing a day.

Emily Freeman summer 2018r

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Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Porch Story :: July 2018

• Porch Stories host Kristin takes a retrospective glance at July; I'll do the same.

About Time

porch stories July 2018 summary

porch stories July rundown

• Trains run on a preplanned, often published schedule, sometimes on time, sometimes not. Most of us anticipate life will run on a schedule, but life doesn't very often happen within the parameters we set for it. However, we still need to plan, we still need to hope and expect—because otherwise the world would stop spinning? Not quite, but a lot of essential services wouldn't happen, a lot of basic needs wouldn't get met.

• I haven't yet opened it, but I noticed the "Career, Job, Calling?" subject line in today's email from The High Calling, a site about Theology of Work.

Dreams

...by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

• As I still keep agonizing why the life of service I dreamt of, had been gifted to do, had taken advantage of opportunities to develop the gifts into high-level skills could have crashed and burned so badly, I never quit quoting Eric Andersen's It's not the times, it's just the dreams that die.

• What do I want to talk about when we meet on my porch? Most often I turn the spotlight over to my guests. That's ironic, because I'm very much an outgoing classic extrovert and I adore being the center of attention. I want to talk about myself. I don't want anyone to explain anything to me; I've already almost choked to death on untenable rationalizations.

moon flowers

• Typically two to four backyard moonflowers bloom each evening; here's a group of nine from early July. Several seedpods are getting ready to burst so more flowers can blossom. Seed times and harvests also are about time; the seeds can't break open the shell until they're ready.

porch flag 2018

• The USA's Fourth of July birthday – Independence Day – is my favorite holiday. No special activities this year, but during most of July we flew the Stars and Stripes from the actual front porch.

• Every July is blogoversary month! 2018 marked desert spirit's fire Sweet 16!

4 o'clocks 4 o'clock 4 o'clock

• Four O'Clocks flower only at 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. "People have seasons," I observed during one of our Monday evening women's bible studies that met at my home the first time I lived in Previous City. Not a novel declaration in the least, but everyone instantly picked up on it, probably because everyone always needs to be reminded life is not about constantly producing and endlessly contributing to The Greater Good. A good life includes times of lying fallow; life needs times of receiving rather than giving.

• You may have noticed I didn't include any outings or events for July. Way back in those bygone days, whatever happened to be going on in my life, I always loved summer. I always wanted summer to last forever. Then a few years ago life became so dicey even summer didn't cut it any more. My previous three summers (2015, 2016, 2017) in Current City I still had a sense of excitement and anticipation, but now, for 2018, I gotta yell out loud to tell everyone I haven't yet rewoven a life of adequate participation—of both giving and receiving. By any measure or standard. This has not been a fun summer... I hardly can wait till it's over; I can't wait to experience what God will do next ... but I still need to plan and prepare.

• Wherever the place, whenever the time, I cannot let my dreams die.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Bach • Schütz • Handel

July 28th every year • Saturday 28 July this year

JS Bach worship bulletin coverHere's the worship bulletin cover collage I designed in City of History for our weeknight liturgical celebration of The Fifth Evangelist, Johann Sebastian Bach; anchor image is Ben Shahn's portrayal of Bach based on Elias Gottlieb Haussmann's famous one. Formally and officially this commemoration's mostly – but not exclusively – a Lutheran thing. Long ago I heard of a novel about a (Roman Catholic, of course) Pope who loved Sebastian Bach's music so much he wanted nothing more than to canonize him as a saint of the RC church, but Bach's being protestant was more than a slight impediment. Only Bach for my collage? Always the liturgy geek, since I followed both Sunday and sanctoral lectionary propers, I kept saying, "Bach, Schütz, Handel" to the pastor, who kept insisting back, "Bach!" Finally I got we'd be officially celebrating only JSB that evening.

Prelude Music Planner observes, "In a delightful example of musical ecumenism, Schütz (a Lutheran) received funding from the Landgrave (a Calvinist) to visit Giovanni Gabrieli (a Catholic) at St. Mark's Basilica, Venice, where he studied organ, composition, improvisation, and probably substituted for Gabrieli at mass." These days that kind of flexibility and interchangeability is super-common, pretty much a given, but was close to unheard of until the papacy of John XXIII.

I suggested JSB's commemoration may mostly be a Lutheran thing since Bach himself was a Lutheran Protestant, yet The Wonder-filled Wikipedia tells us, "the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church remembers Bach annually with a feast day on 28 July, together with George Frideric Handel and Henry Purcell." Not sure if G.F.'s surname needs to be spelled Handel or Händel in which context?!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Porch Story :: Blogoversary 16

porch stories 16th blogoversary

Sixteen Years

• It's Wednesday—Porch Story Day! Host Kristin Hill Taylor's about Adventuring Together; I'm writing about my 16 year blogoversary that happened on the middle day of July – the 16th – but all of July is the anniversary. Beginning a blog at any time qualifies as open-ended adventure; even when I've been discouraged, I easily can admit I've written about a variety of ideas and events, posted excellent photographs and amazingly imaginative art. Every day is a theological, practical, and psychological watershed because {of course} every moment is a new beginning, but clearly I'm at a major intersection I can't keep ignoring or rationalizing. How. Some. Ever. This is about desert spirit's fire's Sweet Sixteen Year, so specifically during the past dozen months?

summer 2000 scrapbook page

July 2017 – July 2018

• I've done something for each of my usual annual celebrations of World Rivers Day, World Water Day, Earth Day, the Day of Pentecost, World Oceans Day... check the links list at the end of this page! I've continued an illustrated activities summary for each month and meteorological season; I've blogged many of my Amazon book reviews.

• On 02 December 2017 I last played the Five Minute Friday free write—I never intended to quit FMF and still consider myself part of their community, but after 7 months? For a long time I used Kristin's own Porch Stories topic as an almost weekly writing prompt, but that declined, too. I realize those aren't obligations, contests, or competitions, but has my functional level declined so radically I cannot do those simple things, or have I subconsciously decided the effort's not worth the return? Both/and?

• #Write31Days2017 31 Days of Celebrating Place highlights year sixteen! I'd long wanted to blog more about places I've lived, visited, and loved, and I did it with thirty illustrated posts. There's one more guest post pending; when Malinda writes about Myrtle Beach, I'll create an eBook of the series.

What Else?

• Not directly blog-related but very bloggable, over the past five or six months I've been printing and organizing my notebook portfolio. I've loved creating a natural & botanical series that frames and presents my {natural, botanical, and related} art far better than a simple pdf of the drawing or painting. So what's the summer 2000 scrapbook-style page? You can't acknowledge what you don't change. Didn't I recently quote Eric Andersen's "It's not the time but just the dreams that die?" I constantly remind myself people have seasons; despite outward appearances, no one spends 24/7 optimally productive. I know what functional is, and this sure ain't it. What about the summer 2000 scrapbook page I've even printed to include in my current portfolio? Summer days, summer nights, blueberries, blackberries, a hint of real community, an overwhelming sense of a full future. I know the future holds more adventures, because that's always the style of journeying in trust with the God of Great Surprises... God of Resurrection. {Was "God of Great Surprises" one of Corita Kent's phrases?}

Two Naturals & Botanicals
July Fry Beach Scene
• Pointillist Beach Scene – original is watercolor / crayon resist.

sky horizon
• Sky Horizon – this is the full original watercolor version of one of my signature suns.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Independence Day 2018 FB Status

July 4th Facebook status

Happy 242nd, USA!
Be free & brave!
Welcome the stranger.
Live justice.
Rock righteousness.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Porch Story :: June 2018

porch stories June 2018 highlights

Intro

* Kristin Taylor offers an end of June what happened this month porch story; I'm doing likewise, talking about highlights of the month that ends today as I continue to remind myself insanity is expecting different results from the same behaviors, as I consider Eric Andersen's, "It's not the time but just the dreams that die." Song title? Rolling Home.

• During June Roxy Kitteh and I have been doing well in our new abode; I've been getting less design work than usual, but that's provided me some physical and emotional space to ask a very serious "now what?" Because it all remains unsustainable for longer than a nano-second.

• On to a mostly pictorial account.

desert spirit's fire June blueberries

• My header features blueberries because they were abundant and affordable all month long.

Southwest California Synod Assembly

Southwest California ELCA synod Assembly logo

• I had the high privilege of designing the logo for the middle judicatory's annual meeting, the crazy excitement of seeing my design splashed all over the place everywhere I looked during the assembly. Theme was "Love and Serve God, Neighbor & Creation." I loved getting two shoutouts from the stand during plenary session and you know I loved seeing so many people I knew and realizing I'd connected fairly well in Current City. Another joy was talking with pastor who'd served North Park Church in Former City. He's been in this synod ten years, so it had been a long time.

Green Team Table

• Here's the Green Faith Team table; I designed captions and did the trifold display.

Green Team Table Great Blue Heron

• The Great Blue Heron who belongs to one of our team/committee members had to be there.

California Lutheran University back yard

• Natural beauty on the campus of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks where we met.

Venice California and Venice Beach

Venice Beach Canal

• A friend and I spent a Sunday afternoon in the famous tourist and student town of Venice; here's Canal View 01.

Venice Beach Canal

• Venice Canal View 02

Venice Beach Palm Trees

• We visited the town of Venice and Venice Beach (with palm trees).

Venice Beach vendor storefront

• I did mention tourists; how about this shop display?

Venice California houses

• If you lived there, you'd be home here.

Closer to Home

Star jasmine

• Synod Assembly was Friday 01 June; Agnes and I sauntered over to Venice on Sunday 03 June—aside from a meeting in Glendale with no pictures for the first time ever, those were the only actual outings during June, but in my current City of Redondo Beach, I've enjoyed plenty of exquisitely scented star jasmine.

back yard moonflowers

• Every day another moonflower / datura or two, three – or more – bursts into blossom in the back yard and fades by sundown. Monday morning 18 June there were five!

strawberry moon

• Added over an hour later, even though the first thing I knew I'd include was the late in June full Strawberry Moon...

It's not the time but just the dreams that die. I dream of the homecoming of contributing to world and church to an extent reasonably consonant with my ability. In one of her books, Kay Redfield Jamison wrote she'd aged so during a particular time in her life and added, "As well one must [age], with such loss of self, such proximity to death, such distance from shelter." I don't expect many people truly to get who I am and why I have the passions I do, but doesn't everyone need the shelter of homecoming? If I let my dreams die... I will die.

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