6/30/14

Pins

If you are part of the "Internet World" the phrase "pin it" has come to have its' very own meaning.

If you haven't discovered "Pinterest" it is a website that is like an electronic bulletin board.



Here is how it works.  You create a Pinterest account, and then create boards.  On each board, you "pin" things.

It is a way to keep all those great ideas you find while surfing the web.  So instead of just bookmarking it on your computer, you can now just click on a picture or idea or project, and "pin" it to one of your boards.

If you visit my Pinterest board, I currently have 14 boards.  They are:

*My Crafty Board
*Some of My Favorite Reads
*Books About Idaho's Silver Valley
*Recipes I Want To Try
*Recipes You Should Try
*My Faith in Jesus Christ
*Daniel Fast Recipes
*Ideas for Bottles
*Things To Think About
*Candy Cane/Peppermint Ideas
*Creative Space Ideas
*Lentil Recipes
*Peaches Garden Space
*Yard and Garden Ideas--General

I just added a new one today.
*Pottery Ideas

So, if I find anything to do with any of these categories, I can click on the "Pin It" button, and it will automatically go to the board I want it to go to.

It is also a great way to search for ideas, then you can repin other people's ideas.

It has become a marketing tool.

For some, it is a major time waster.

I have been pretty good so far of not getting too far sucked in to the Pinterest realm.

But I know I have to be careful!!

6/29/14

Vacation at Home: South Fork Riverwalk #1

I am going to deviate from my topics every once in a while, and share some of my experiences over the summer enjoying the place where I live.

We don't have any big plans for a vacation this summer, so I have decided to enjoy the place where I live, and take advantage of the places around my home that are so beautiful.

The first place I want to highlight is the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River.  It is literally 50 yards from our front door.

Growing up in Kellogg, Idaho, I would have never described myself living in a town on the river.  Because the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River didn't seem like a river to me.  In fact, we didn't call it by it's formal name.  We called it "Lead Creek"  (and that is pronounced Crick....not Creek).

The river was polluted from years and years of mining waste being poured into it from the various mines up and down the river, from Mullan to Smelterville.  And the funny thing is, I never remember any adult ever telling me not to go into the river....you just knew not to go into the "crick".

I grew up in Kellogg in the 60's and 70's, when mining was as its' peak.  After I graduated from high school, the Bunker Hill Mining Company closed its' doors, which started a domino effect throughout the Silver Valley, and the mining industry was never the same.

Many regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were also put into place, as well as the Silver Valley being declared a Superfund Site, and clean up of the areas that were contaminated with mine waste has been an ongoing thing here for years.

But the results of all of these factors has been miraculous.  If you haven't been to the Silver Valley since the 1980's. or even the 1990's, you would be amazed at how the once barren hillsides are now covered with trees from a very successful reforestation program headed up by Ed Pommerening.  These trees were being planted when I was in high school, and effects of the tree planting are unbelievable.

I could have never told you that the Silver Valley was a wetlands area.  I had never seen cat tails growing in Kellogg.  Now they are located in various places along the river.  Now everyone refers to it at the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River.  You rarely hear the term "Lead Creek" anymore, unless it is the Lead Creek Derby sponsored by the local Gyros every June.

I want to share with you some photographs I took from my walk along the river last week.  Again, this is 50 feet from my front door.


This is the beginning of the trail.  It is located on the south side of the river, on Hill Street/
The river is beautiful and it peacefully goes by through my hometown.
A pretty daisy along the way.
The trees have gotten quite tall along the riverbank.
White Caps!
Looking across the river at Kellogg Middle School.
 
Looking back at the Morning Star Lodge at Silver Mountain Resort.
The end of the trail.
 
This is just a small glimpse of all the beauty I experienced walking along the Dike on the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River.  I could walk this every day if I wanted.  And I may start doing it more often than I have.
 
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into this beautiful place I call home, and the beauty that surrounds me each and every day.

6/28/14

Barbra Streisand

No other woman vocalist had an influence on me more growing up than Barbra Streisand.

I remember listening to her sing "People" on one of our record albums and singing along.

I had many of the soundtracks from the movies she was in, and knew every song on every album by heart.

The one I remember the most was "A Star is Born".  It came out when I was in junior high.  I loved the song "Evergreen".  I sang "Everything" with my friend Tina in our 9th grade talent show.  We called ourselves "Sugar and Spice". 

In high school, I sang "With One More Look At You", from the same movie at a variety show at KHS.

In high school, the movie "The Main Event" came out, and I bought the soundtrack to it.

In college, the soundtrack I listened to over and over was "Yentl".



I also enjoyed the music from "Funny Girl".  In the Miss Kellogg pageant my senior year, I sang "I'm The Greatest Star".  Three years later, I sang the same song in the University of Idaho talent show and received second place.  It was a fun song to sing.  Recently, I revived it one more time in a show at the Sixth Street Melodrama.  Another song from "Funny Girl" I sang once in a Kelly's Alley Revue was "Second Hand Rose".

As I looked over the many albums Miss Streisand has produced, I am amazed at how many I remember either owning myself, or listening to ones that my sister Christy owned. 

I'm not sure what it was about her that really drew me into her music.  Maybe it was because I could sing her range.  Maybe it was her film presence.  Maybe it was because she was ahead of her time in many ways, and broke many barriers in film.

I don't know.  All I do know is I have enjoyed her as a vocalist and actress, and she has had a large influence on me growing up.

6/27/14

Vegetables

If anyone is wondering, the last two weeks of no sugar, no meat (except fish and seafood) is going quite well.

I think I am eating healthier.  It is making me try things I wouldn't normally eat.

I am realizing I can make a meal with meat in it, but find a vegetable or fish alternative.

Such as pasties.  I found a delicious vegetable alternative to make when I made the family pasties this week, and their pasties had meat in them.

In most situations, tuna is a good substitute for chicken.

My sister made a delicious dessert, using honey instead of sugar.

Paul made kabobs, some with steak, some with shrimp.

When we barbequed a turkey, I just ate the three different salads, and put shrimp on my pasta salad.

Pizza was brought to the set yesterday, and thank good one was cheese.  I can eat that kind.

Today at lunch I ordered a grilled vegetable sandwich, with pepper jack cheese, and a delicious whole wheat bun.

There are many more things I want to try and experiment with this summer.

Last night Zoe made bean burgers for dinner, and they were delicious....even at 11:30 p.m. when I got home.

I know I am feeling better eating this way.

So far, it has been a nice experiment.

6/26/14

Patience

Tonight I had to exercise a lot of patience.

I found out that making a film is a lot about exercising patience.

But it wasn't really that bad.

I arrived at the Shoshone Building in Wallace at about 3 p.m. to get in costume and get make up on.

Nancy Hank, our director, had been there with Grant Turner and his brother Nate since 1 p.m.

When I arrived, they were finishing up some shots just of Grant.

Then I started filming around 4 p.m. or so.

I was actually a really fun process.  You shoot scenes.  And often you shoot the same scene from a different angle.

I spent a lot of time sitting on a stool in front of a cauldron.

We had a great group of people to work with. 

Nancy Hanks is the director.  Alex Heston is the Associate Director.

Joni Bartel is the Producer. 

Gordan Turner ran the camera.

Matt Frasier was the Boom Microphone operator.

Indy Behrendt worked on the lighting.

Carolyn and Nate Turner helped out whenever needed.  There was also a young girl who played one of the "pale ones".  I can't remember her first name, but it is Katelyn Pearson's little sister.

Then Grant Turner and I were the actors.

I learned I need to be subtle.  More monotone.  Less is more.

It was so exciting when you did a shot right, and Nancy, our director, got so excited!!

We go back again tomorrow evening to finish up the scenes in the Shoshone Building.  My next scenes are either outside or in the Dance Hall Scene. 

It is a very interesting process, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the filming goes throughout the summer. I didn't leave tonight until 11 o'clock.  I spent 8 hours on the set.  Not sure how many hours it will take tomorrow night.

The name of the film is Across Bank Street--The Last Witch.

I am Pemphredo...The Last Witch.

If you are on Facebook, you can like the Across Bank Street-The Last Witch Facebook page and keep up on all the news about the shooting of this film.

Very, very interesting.

6/25/14

Family

For the last few days we have been able to gather together in the evening at our home with my mom, my brother and his wife and my sister to share meals, laughter, and make memories.

My sister came down to Kellogg to spend a few days with our brother Bill and his wife Debbie before they continue their journey east to live in the Washington D.C. area, in Virginia.  They are moving to be closer to their two daughters and three grandchildren.

These last few days have been very precious since we were all able to be together.  We did miss my sister's husband Everett who had to stay at home to help a friend who is having surgery.

Here are a few photos or our family time together.

 Sister-in-law Debbie always creating something. 
She is knitting a beautiful blanket on her journey east.
 Molly acting silly.
 Uncle Bill acting silly.
 Reenacting a portrait that was taken of us back in 1977.

 Trying not to laugh (TNTL) when taking photos with Mom.
Sisters.
 
Bill and Paul enjoying our delicious dinner and conversation.

6/24/14

Aaron Sorkin

I think Aaron Sorkin is one of the best talents in television today.

He writes and produces wonderful programs that make you think, make you laugh, and make you cry.

But mostly make you think.

And I like the way he thinks.

He believes in a better country, a better world.

Through his writing, you can see that he believes we can be better.

I saw this in "The West Wing".

I saw this in "Studio 60 in the Sunset Strip".

I saw this in "A Few Good Men".

I saw this in "The Newsroom".

And also in "The American President".

"Sports Night" was also a great show.

Maybe it is because we are contemporaries that I enjoy his work so much.

But I truly like the way he thinks, the messages that come out in his shows, and his hope for something better.

Thank you, Aaron Sorkin, for making television and cinema a little bit better the last twenty plus years.

6/23/14

Herbs

Today I completed my garden by planting the herbs I purchased on Sunday in my herb garden.

I used to plant the herbs in the ground in a wagon wheel design, but after a few years, the wagon wheel was taken over with grass.  So last year I dug up the herbs and put them in pots, and covered the ground with plastic, cardboard and bark.  But over the winter, the herbs in the pots didn't make it.

So this year I purchased more herbs, have more pots, and plan to put the herbs somewhere this winter where they won't die.

Here is what the completed area looks like.  If you look closely I have a toilet and a kitchen sink in this garden.  My dream is to one day add a claw foot tub to the area, and fill it with herbs.

In the two bigger pots, I planted Tri-Color Sage and Oregano.
 
I found some of my books on Herbs, and one gave the meaning of some of the herbs.
 
Sage means:  Domestic Virtue, wisdom
Oregano means:  Substance

 
 
I had made these window box planters years ago with old windows from our former house in uptown Kellogg.  I decided to make use of them in the herb garden, by putting the potted herbs in the window boxes.


 This box has Lemon Verbena, Rosemary and Stevia.  Lemon Verbena has a very lemony scent and flavor, which is good because I love anything lemony!!
Rosemary means:  Remembrance, your presence revives me.

Stevia is a popular herb these days, and has become commercialized as a sweetener.  If you take a little bit of one of the leaves, you will be amazed at how sweet it tastes.


This window box is full of three different kinds of mint.
This mint is called Kentucky Colonel Mint.
Mint means:  Virtue

This variety of mint is Chocolate Mint.  I have grown this mint before, and it is delicious.

This variety of mint is Banana Mint.  I have never heard of this kind of mint before. 
 It smells good, like a banana.
In the final window box I put four colorful pots I purchased at Michael's Craft Store last month. 
I thought the herbs would go perfectly in these pots.
 
 
 
In the pink polka dot pot I put Peppermint.


The yellow pot has Spicy Greek Oregano.

 
The pink striped pot has Spicy Orange Thyme.  I have had Lemon Thyme before, but never orange.

 
And the blue polka dot pot has the more traditional English Thyme.
Thyme means:  Energy, affection.
My one herb that did winter over was the Chive I put in the top of our old Weber BBQ. 
Chives are pretty hearty.
 
I also have three pots of Basil growing on the ledge of our patio.  I put some here two summers ago, and this is the perfect place to grow basil in my yard.
 
Basil Means:  Love
Sweet Basil Means:  Good Wishes
 
 
I look forward to having herbs once again, and experimenting with them in my cooking.  They have such wonderful flavors right out of the garden.  I loved finding my books on Herb Gardening, and look forward to using some of the recipes I found today throughout the summer.
 
If you have ever been in an Herb Garden, one of the best things to do is walk through and rub the leaves of the plants to emit the wonderful smells from the plants.  Then the smells stick to your hands and you have that delicious smell with you for quite a while, lingering on your hands.
 
There is something about herbs that is also soothing.  Many herbs make wonderful tea.  Many herbs are used for medicinal purposes.
 
Herbs are good to have in the garden.

6/22/14

Stretching

They say before you do any kind of exercise, you should stretch to get your muscles warmed up.

If you stretch you get limber, and are less likely to have an injury.

Stretching also feels good.

I need to do more physical stretching.  I always feel so much better when stretching to warm up and to cool down are part of my exercising regime.

These last three days I did lots of stretching, but not the physical kind of stretching.

This stretching was while I was on retreat.

I stretched my vision.

I stretched the understanding of my inner soul.

I stretched my friendship with my friend.

I stretched my outlook on where my life is going.

I stretched my creative pursuits.

I feel warmed up and ready to go.  I am ready to be strengthened in many ways.

In January I gathered with two other friends and we created vision boards for the year.  Since I am at about the half way mark of the year, I took the board off my wall to evaluate if anything on my vision board has happened.  I was presently surprised.

Here is a picture of my vision board.



On the board of two big pictures of vegetables and flowers.  I recently planted my vegetables, and a flower bed in our yard was recently brought under control by the grass invasion that had invaded the area.  The grass how now been subdued by plastic, cardboard and bark.

One of the phrases on my board says, "Eat Your Way Healthy".  I have made a commitment to not eat sugar or meat, other than fish and seafood this summer.  Hopefully this will contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

A large photo of potted flowers and plants is in the center of the board.  I plan on spending more time in my garden this summer, and cultivating the things growing in my yard.

"Circle of Friends" is another phrase on the board.  Each month since the beginning of the year, I have gathered with a circle of friends to help us all learn more about who we truly are as women.

Here are some of the quotes on dreams I put on the board:

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"--Eleanor Roosevelt

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it."--Goethe

"Dreams are illustrations....from the book your soul is writing about you."--Marsha Norman

I am dreaming.  I am believing my dreams can come true.  I am daring to dream.

My word I chose for the year is Purposeful.

The definition for the word I put on my board was, "having or showing determination or resolve."

I think my weekend was very Purposeful.  I showed determination and resolve to stretch my wings, limber up, and get ready to use my creative muscles.

It will take a while to process all I learned and experienced this weekend on my retreat.  But I do know I am glad I went, and hope to do it again soon.


6/21/14

Shakespeare

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a light-hearted comedy written by William Shakespeare.  As I thought of today, and what the summer solstice means to me, and what I am doing on this day during my weekend of retreating, I found out that today is the day referred to as "Midsummer", and that Shakespeare was referring to this day when he wrote the above poem.

I am also focusing on dreams this weekend.  Not the dreams you have when you fall asleep.  But the dreams you have as you think about where you want your life to go, and what the future holds. Visions for life.  Hopes, plans, dreams.

We didn't plan to have our retreat on the summer solstice, but as I read up more on what the summer solstice it, it is a quite fitting time to have a renewing retreat.

‘Solstice’ literally means stopping or standing still of the sun. It is used as a name for the longest day of the year – 21 June – when the sun is at its highest point in the northern hemisphere.

Many people use this day for rituals, ceremonies and celebrations.
 
One person described the Summer Solstice like this:

The Summer Solstice celebrate the joy, warmth and laughter of summer; and God's power.  The beginning of summer represents a time for purification, renewal and healing of the self and soul, a time to release the sadness, fears and pains from your life.  A time for purification and renewed energy.

What a wonderful way to look at today, and what lies ahead.  We all need times to purify and renew ourselves.  For me, that means taking time to pray and read the Bible, and listen to what God is trying to tell me.  What direction should I go?

I thought it interesting in many Christian faiths, this is also a day to celebrate St. John the Baptist.  In the Book of Luke it is said John was born six months before Jesus, and so they celebrate his feast day in June. 

Christians have long interpreted the life of John the Baptist as a preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, and the circumstances of his birth, as recorded in the New Testament, are miraculous. John's pivotal place in the gospel is seen in the emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus.

This reminds me of the musical "Godspell", and the song John the Baptist sings called "Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord".  When I was in this musical, I got to sing the first few lines.  If you haven't heard this song, here it is:

 And for me, this all goes together.  Midsummer, the day of the summer solstice, the feast of St. John, preparing the way of the Lord, and dreaming.

It is all a part of this weekend's retreat.

Today is the longest day of the year.  The summer solstice.  A time to for renewal.

St. John's Day...preparing the way of the Lord.  For me, this is always a part of the renewal and change that comes in my life.  The changes in my life are always affected by my relationship with Jesus.

A Midsummer Night's Dream......Part of my time here is to look toward the future, and dream about what comes next.  What do I want to do in the next day, week, month, year? 

This fall I am taking an e-course called Mondo Beyondo, a six week course about dreaming big.  I am doing it with two friends beginning in September.  I can't wait to see where it takes me!!  And some of the seeds of those dreams are beginning to germinate this weekend.

My sister is also helping my friend April and I in this process this weekend, by sharing books, thoughts, and creative knowledge, especially when it comes to creating a blog.  Soon April will have hers up and running.

I have also been doing some photography, reading, writing and dreaming.  Just what I envisioned the weekend to be.

Here are some images from today's retreat.....





 The weather and view are absolutely beautiful.  Here is April enjoying the view.
 April pointing out something wonderful off the deck.
 April dreaming but not sleeping.
 Shelby getting in on the fun.
 Christy and April creating April's blog.  Yay!!  Big creative effort accomplished today!!
Sweet William posed for some photos.  This was one of my favorites.
 
This weekend has truly been a blessing.
 Flower Power!
More flowers.

6/20/14

Meridian, Idaho

For nine years of my life, I spent living in the town of Meridian, Idaho.

It was an interesting time in my life.

It was my "stay at home mom" time in my life.

I didn't work outside the home.

I had three main things in my life at the time.

Wife and Mother.

I was involved in my church.

I was a school volunteer.

And that was a lot of what I did.

And through my involvement in church, I became close to many women in the church, women who had a big impact on my life.

One of those women is here with me this weekend for a retreat at my sister's house, overlooking the beautiful Lake Roosevelt in eastern Washington.  I call her April #2.  (I have three friend's named April in my life.  I met her second, she is April #2.)

We are here to jump start our creativity, and help her start a blog.  We are here on retreat.

Plans changed a bit in the way it started.  She was suppose to arrive in Spokane at the airport yesterday at about 6:30 p.m., but her plane was delayed, and she arrived at 11 p.m.  So we stayed in Spokane at a motel.  This morning we did a little retail therapy and had a wonderful time saving lots of money!!

We arrived at my sister's house tonight and have had a wonderful time visiting, touring my sister's gardens, eating good food, and modeling funky clothes I bought today.

I look forward to the rest of our weekend, and seeing what transpires.

6/19/14

Directing

As an actor, I love being directed in a performance.

I like having a director with a vision, and helping fulfill that vision.

There have been a few times when I really felt like I had that happen.

One of the first times I was really given direction was from someone who was not really the director of the play, but Paul was the director, and Paul and I were in a scene together, and our fellow cast member, Frank Peretti, worked and worked with us on this one little scene.  It was really hard work and I absolutely LOVED it.

Paul and I were in a two person musical a few years ago, and were directed by Carrie Stuart-Parks.  She also had a vision for the show, and worked us hard and gave us great direction.

Today, I was given direction in a medium I have never worked in...film making.

Nancy Hanks is a local filmmaker here in the Silver Valley, and asked me to be in her current short film "Across Bank Street: The Last Witch".  Today I go together with the lead male character, Grant, and we talked about our characters, read through the script, and blocked the scenes we will be filming next week.

Nancy Hanks, on the right, is explaining to actor Grant Turner, center, and Assistant Director Alex Heston, left, the camera angle that will be shot for the next scene.

Film is different than stage.  I learned today I need to not be as "big", that my gestures and mannerisms and voice need to be brought down to accommodate the film making process.  '

In theater, you have to project.  Your audience is often ten or more feet away.

When being filmed by a camera, often it is right in your face.

I learned to be more subtle.  I learned to tone down inflections. 

And this was just rehearsal.  I'm sure I will learn so much more when we actually start rolling the camera and seeing myself on the monitor after filming a scene.

I'm so excited to be a part of this process.  It is so different from what I have done in the past. 

It was great to sit and talk about my character and have Grant talk about his character, and have Nancy ask us questions about what we felt about our character, and the back story on where we came from and where the character is going.

And how some of that changed by the time we were done rehearsing at the end of the day.  It was amazing how our two characters connected.  In just a few short pages, a pivotal part of the story was acted out. 

I am going to have fun exploring the different aspects of my character Pem this summer, and see what she is all about.  That is what is fun about being an actor.  Getting to become someone else, and seeing where their story goes.

And learning a new creative process along the way.

6/18/14

Sixth Street Melodrama and Theater

A lot of my creative energy has been spent at our local theater that past 10 years or so.

I was in my first summer melodrama in the summer of 2004, I believe.  After that first summer, I was hooked.

Since that first experience on the Sixth Street stage, I have had the opportunity to do a variety of creative endeavors.

I have performed in at least five summer Melodramas.

I have written two melodramas.

I have directed numerous musical revues.

I have performed in some well known musicals, including "Godspell" and "I Do! I Do!".

I have done some plays.

I have been a member of the board of directors.

But this summer is different.

This summer, we had some other people step up to direct the two summer melodramas at the theater, so Paul and I stepped back, and let others take over.

I still do publicity.  I have been in charge of getting the  program ready for the summer.

But this summer my creative energies are going elsewhere.  More of my time is going to be spent organizing my creative space at my home, taking time to do some personal creative pursuits, including writing, photography, acting in a film, and making pottery.

I am allowing myself to have an Artist Date once a week.  What is an Artist Date, you ask?  Here is the definition, from Julia Cameron's book, "The Artist's Way".

The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore
something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly
“artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the
imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the
play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well
of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask
yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.
 
 
I am scheduling creative walks to help loosen up my mind as I walk.  I have three short walks, and one long walk scheduled each week.  Through these walks I hope to explore the beauty that surrounds me in the beautiful Silver Valley, including rivers, streams, wetlands, bike trails, hiking trails, lakes and ponds.
 
I am having weekly coffee dates with a friend to focus on creativity and focusing on our creative dreams.
 
This weekend I am retreating with another friend to my sister's house to help my friend create a blog, a step on her way to get her book published.
 
Later this summer I am taking a sojourn to a Labyrinth in Montana.
 
I shared with a group of friends recently that I was feeling restless.  I love this quote that may help explain why I am feeling what I am feeling:
 
“Life is a spiritual dance and that our unseen partner has steps to teach us if we will allow ourselves to be led. The next time you are restless, remind yourself it is the universe asking 'Shall we dance?”
― Julia Cameron
 
Part of my belief system is believing in a God who is the Creator, and who has given us the ability to create wonderful and beautiful things.  And I hope to tap into more of that this summer, and I begin my 51st year on this earth.  To me, one of the beautiful things about having a relationship with God is being a co-creator with the one who created the heavens and the earth.
 
One of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle, wrote a book titled "Walking on Water".  Here are some of her views on creativity from this book:
 
“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.”
― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water
 
“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there's no danger that we will confuse God's work with our own, or God's glory with our own.”
― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
 
“We live by revelation, as Christians, as artists, which means we must be careful never to get set into rigid molds. The minute we begin to think we know all the answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues, and thanked God that he was not like other men.

Unamuno might be describing the artist as well as the Christian as he writes, "Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.”
― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
 
I want my to bear God's glory in  my creativity.  I want to live by revelation.  I want to give over to the creativity, and not let ME get in the way.
 
My prayer is to live the creative life God created me to live.
 
 
 


6/17/14

St. Francis of Assisi

One of my friends shared on his Facebook page an article about Evangelism, and the article talked about a quote that is usually attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.  The article "There's No Such Thing As The Gift of Evangelism" by Ed Stetzer on this website here, says this:

Francis of Assisi is attributed the statement: "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” I’ve seen it on Facebook about a billion times.
 
I can appreciate living in such a way that our lives point to the person and work of Jesus. However, two basic problems exist: 1) Francis never said it, and 2), the quote is just not biblical.
 
I'm not sure why this quote has been attributed to St. Francis, and I wish the article had explained why, but it didn't.
 
 
 
But, reading this made me start thinking about the story of St. Francis, who was born in 1118, and grew up the son of a very wealthy merchant.  Here is a bit of his story from the Catholic Online website:
 
Francis enjoyed a very rich easy life growing up because of his father's wealth and the permissiveness of the times. From the beginning everyone -- and I mean everyone -- loved Francis. He was constantly happy, charming, and a born leader. If he was picky, people excused him. If he was ill, people took care of him. If he was so much of a dreamer he did poorly in school, no one minded. In many ways he was too easy to like for his own good. No one tried to control him or teach him.
As he grew up, Francis became the leader of a crowd of young people who spent their nights in wild parties. Thomas of Celano, his biographer who knew him well, said, "In other respects an exquisite youth, he attracted to himself a whole retinue of young people addicted to evil and accustomed to vice." Francis himself said, "I lived in sin" during that time.
Later, after being a prisoner of war, and not being changed by this experience, but returned to his "partying" ways, and he fashioned a suit of armor made of gold when there was a call for knights of the Fourth Crusade.
But he finally was converted, but it was not a quick conversion.  Here is his story:
Francis' conversion did not happen over night. God had waited for him for twenty-five years and now it was Francis' turn to wait. Francis started to spend more time in prayer. He went off to a cave and wept for his sins. Sometimes God's grace overwhelmed him with joy. But life couldn't just stop for God. There was a business to run, customers to wait on.
One day while riding through the countryside, Francis, the man who loved beauty, who was so picky about food, who hated deformity, came face to face with a leper. Repelled by the appearance and the smell of the leper, Francis nevertheless jumped down from his horse and kissed the hand of the leper. When his kiss of peace was returned, Francis was filled with joy. As he rode off, he turned around for a last wave, and saw that the leper had disappeared. He always looked upon it as a test from God...that he had passed.
His search for conversion led him to the ancient church at San Damiano. While he was praying there, he heard Christ on the crucifix speak to him, "Francis, repair my church." Francis assumed this meant church with a small c -- the crumbling building he was in. Acting again in his impetuous way, he took fabric from his father's shop and sold it to get money to repair the church. His father saw this as an act of theft-- and put together with Francis' cowardice, waste of money, and his growing disinterest in money made Francis seem more like a madman than his son. Pietro dragged Francis before the bishop and in front of the whole town demanded that Francis return the money and renounce all rights as his heir.
The bishop was very kind to Francis; he told him to return the money and said God would provide. That was all Francis needed to hear. He not only gave back the money but stripped off all his clothes -- the clothes his father had given him -- until he was wearing only a hair shirt. In front of the crowd that had gathered he said, "Pietro Bernardone is no longer my father. From now on I can say with complete freedom, 'Our Father who art in heaven.'" Wearing nothing but castoff rags, he went off into the freezing woods -- singing. And when robbers beat him later and took his clothes, he climbed out of the ditch and went off singing again. From then on Francis had nothing...and everything.
Francis went back to what he considered God's call. He begged for stones and rebuilt the San Damiano church with his own hands, not realizing that it was the Church with a capital C that God wanted repaired. Scandal and avarice were working on the Church from the inside while outside heresies flourished by appealing to those longing for something different or adventurous.
Following the Gospel literally, Francis and his companions went out to preach two by two. At first, listeners were understandably hostile to these men in rags trying to talk about God's love. People even ran from them for fear they'd catch this strange madness! And they were right. Because soon these same people noticed that these barefoot beggars wearing sacks seemed filled with constant joy. They celebrated life. And people had to ask themselves: Could one own nothing and be happy? Soon those who had met them with mud and rocks, greeted them with bells and smiles.
 
Years of poverty and wandering had made Francis ill. When he began to go blind, the pope ordered that his eyes be operated on. This meant cauterizing his face with a hot iron. Francis spoke to "Brother Fire": "Brother Fire, the Most High has made you strong and beautiful and useful. Be courteous to me now in this hour, for I have always loved you, and temper your heat so that I can endure it." And Francis reported that Brother Fire had been so kind that he felt nothing at all.
How did Francis respond to blindness and suffering? That was when he wrote his beautiful Canticle of the Sun that expresses his brotherhood with creation in praising God.
Here is that beautiful Canticle:
 
English Translation:
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.

So much we can learn from our brother in Christ from many years ago. It is good to look back on stories of the Christians who came before us, and learn from those stories, and let God show us the lessons we can learn from their time here on earth.

6/16/14

Star Wars

Yesterday and today I watched the original Star Wars movies.  Well, the originals with modifications.

I had been wanting to watch all three of the first movies, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi for some time.  I found all our three VHS tapes, (yes, believe it or not, we still use VHS tapes), and the tracking was off on our VHS player.  So I promptly do what anyone does who wants instant gratification, I found a DVD set on Amazon, and had it shipped to me.

So yesterday I watched the first two of this series, and today I watched the final one.  That is the best way to watch them...one right after the other.

All I can say is, George Lucas is a genius.



I remember the first time I watched Star Wars.  I was in high school I think and was at the Drive-In movie in Smelterville.  Probably not the best place to watch this kind of movie.  I didn't get one thing about this movie.

I later watched it again, and it made more sense.  Then, as the following movies came out, they became some of my favorites.

Besides some of the special effects, Star Wars does not seem dated to me at all.  I love how you fall in love with the characters, even the muppet characters.  Yoda, the Ewoks, Chewbaka the Wookie.....they were all great characters.

Then you have slimey Jabba the Hutt, and various other low life aliens that are introduced in the bar seen at the beginning in the first movie.

And the fondness you feel toward the droids, R2D2 and C3PO.

Besides the characters, it is a good story.  Good vs. evil.  Action. Love. Romance. Surprises.  It is all there.

Now, there were a few modifications in the DVD series from the original.  I hadn't watched them in a while, so I wasn't sure if I wasn't remembering things, or if things had been changed.  But the end of the third movie was very obviously changed, as well as some other things in the other two episodes.

When something has been around as long as Star Wars has, and new generations of kids are enjoying it as much as their parents did when they were younger, you know you have something good.

Now I need to go back and watch the first three episodes. Then I'll be ready for the Episode VII coming out in 2015.

Time to check out amazon.com again!!