Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day Fourteen: Someone you can't imagine not being in your life

This image is called the Rublev Icon, and it is said by some by to be a visual representation of the Trinity. I was introduced to this image about five years ago now, and it holds a great deal of significance for me. In this painting, the three figures around the table are representative of God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit the comforter.

I honestly don't know what I'd do if God were not in my life. While I have family members and friends that are dear and beloved to me; God is my most beloved. I'm thankful beyond words that the Trinity is always there sitting and inviting me to come join them at the table of forgiveness, grace, and love.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 13: My Favorite Band

This is a terrible one to figure out. How do I choose?
I'd have to say though, that after listening to the Decemberists newest album - I'm quite impressed.
What do you think?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 12: Something I love

(Image found at Heatherwood Elementary.)

Let's put it under the umbrella of Art.

I love it and so did Thomas.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
~Thomas Merton

Save the arts in schools

Arts programs are in a precarious state. Literally, millions in funding are in the process of being potentially eliminated. There even is a danger of the National Endowment of the Arts to be eliminated entirely. See this excerpt from the Advocate for the Arts...
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will bring to the House floor, a Continuing Resolution (CR) appropriations package that proposes to cut dozens of federal agencies and programs for the balance of the current 2011 fiscal year (March 5 through September 30).
The National Endowment for the Arts is targeted for a $22.5 million cut in the legislative proposal, and it is quite possible members of the Republican Study Committee will offer amendments to fully eliminate the NEA during floor consideration.
(From Advocate of the Arts)
Do you recall the cartoons by Schoolhouse rock? I do. In fact without this "artistic medium of teaching", I'm not sure I'd ever understood the process of a bill becoming a law. This cartoon taught me what civics class couldn't.

Take a moment and write a letter in support of the NEA and Arts programs in education by going to the Advocate for the Arts and filling out the form provided.
Below is the letter I submitted this morning, not because I teach art on a part-time basis; but because of the impact and joy art has brought to my own life. How could I not want that for the children in my community, state and country?
Thanks for your help.

As your constituent, I urge you to vote against the amendments to H.R. 1 (Full-Year CR) offered by Rep. Garrett (NJ), Rep. Walberg (MI), and Rep. Mack (FL) that seek to reduce funds or terminate funding to the National Endowment for the Arts.

I am blessed to have the privilege of teaching art in the after-school programs in my area. I have with my own eyes seen the positive impact that arts has had on my students. With each project the students grow in creativity, confidence, courage and skills.

In many cases, creativity is not given a chance to take root in the lives of our children, due to cuts in the area of arts in education. In a world that demands creative and excellent thinkers, why would we cut resources that help to foster those characteristics in our children?

My ultimate reason to aid arts education for children is to offer them the experience, joy and discover that arts have to offer; and carry those gifts into adulthood. Art is beauty and the quality of life is improved because of arts. Retain funding for arts, not for me and my vocation; but for the young minds that have yet to experience it's beauty first hand.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

Day #11: Something I hate

I know hate is a strong word, but there are some things in this world that we all could do without.

For me dissension or dissention is one of the big ones I'd rather not see in the world.

Dissention is defined as: disagreement; especially : partisan and contentious quarreling. It's synonyms are: conflict, dis-accord, discordance, discordancy, disharmony, discord, dissent, dissidence, dissonance, disunion, disunity, division, friction, infighting, inharmony, schism, strife, variance, war, warfare.

Something that propagates or leads to war and all that comes in it's wake, just needs to stop.

Gift #6: Humility

"Sometimes the despair of waiting can bring us low. One of the hidden gifts of this position is a change in perspective." (Page 77 The Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting)

Have you ever heard the children's song, "Do you're ears hang low to they waggle to and fro. Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?..." Humility is a word that isn't something that most people seek after. First of all, some may mistake humility for allowing yourself to be treated as a doormat. Humility actually is defined as:
"the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc. "

From a Biblical perspective humility is characterized in the following verses as:
" a prominent Christian grace (Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well pleasing to God (1 Pet. 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquility (Ps. 69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22). Christ has set us an example of humility (Phil. 2:6-8). We should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lam. 3:39), and by the thought that it is the way to honor (Prov. 16:18), and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps. 147:6; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Pet. 5:5). It is a great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory."

While humility can be a difficult thing for modern humanity to grasp, it is a means of great respect and care for others - as well as a means of rest - that needs greater focus in the Christian life.

According to Chapter 6 in our text; Humility leads us to:
the Grace of God.
to love rather than achieve.
to honor others.
to live without judgment.
to honest assessment.

Humility has the ability to to help us see ourselves as God sees us. In that perspective, we are able to see our weaknesses but also the strengths. In the eyes of humility, our true God given abilities shine through and we may become better equipped to use them in service to God and others.

Consider this writing by Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you NOT to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

How can humility help you move beyond those areas of fear? What actions today do I need to repent from? How have I used my God-given gifts today?

May God help us to lovingly look at ourselves and others with the eyes of humility; and be blessed by the amazing gifts that are discovered.

Please feel free to leave your comments here or at our ongoing online Book group at Facebook. Look for us at Holy Conversations or simply visit us at this link.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 10: the person you do the craziest things with...

My daughter Heather and I have always been up for adventures: 12 hour road trips moving a friends kitchen supplies in a maxi van with no ac...going to picnics in Pittsburgh and ending up sitting with a famous author,...shaving-cream wiffle ball games and all those community service youth events.

I'm always up for an adventure with Heather. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 9: someone who's gotten me through alot

How perfect that this photo happens to fall on Valentines Day!

I'd have to say that the person who's been there for me - thick and thin - is my husband Ian. We celebrate 22 Valentine's Days together this week and 19 years of marriage in June...
Words don't really suffice, but thank you Ian for being so true to your promises.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 8: Photo that makes me laugh

Ashville General Store is one of my favorite diner/restaurants to go to in our area. This photo is of three generations of Eastman ladies all brought together by "The General" as I call it, and Arizona Green Tea. To the ladies I share this photo with (my mother-in-law Janet and my daughter Heather>) - CHEERS! I love you. Thank you for all the laughter that day and everyday.