Category Archives: spirituality

moonless darkness stands between

Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.

–Gerard Manley Hopkins

war is over if you want it

Today was the anniversary of John Lennon’s murder.

I was not aware of the commitment that he and Yoko Ono had to peace and non-violence.  These things are close to my heart, and I spent some time today watching a video posted on I also printed out a small poster to hang among my Christmas cards of the season.  Their technique of using advertising is fascinating to me.  I encourage you to watch the video.  It’s a bit heart wrenching at the end, but very powerful.

WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) from Yoko Ono on Vimeo.



I find the holidays a little stressful.  Not because I am busy, but because I feel as though I need to “match” the level of giving.  Which is strange because I really love giving gifts, and I really don’t expect anything back, but if someone gives me something I feel as though my gift should match the value of whatever I received.  Does that make sense?  Gift giving always feels particularly out of control within my family because everyone else LOVES giving gifts.

I have been trying to prepare my handmade gifts early this year.  I usually supplement with purchased handcrafted items as well.  And I also succumb to store bought items generally reserved for the adult males in my life.  And children.  I really struggle with this.  I don’t want to be “educating” my family at Christmas time.  I don’t intend on creating any guilt during what should be a joyous and thoughtful occasion.   Meh…but then I feel guilty for the excess.

How do you handle the holidays?  Thoughts?

update much

So, Steph gave me a hear time because I hadn’t updated in awhile. Meanwhile, her blog hasn’t gotten any action in over a month. Not that I’m saying…okay, I’m saying it. Pot…kettle.

I have been doing my best to survive the summer. In case anyone was wondering, it’s still really hot here. Somedays, it’s a bit humid. Not Tennessee humid, but humid. Supposedly, the monsoons are around. Somewhere. I think it rained once.

I realized the other day that I live in a pretty diverse area. Within a mile of my home is a Jewish Community Center, a Seventh Day Adventist Church, a Korean Church (Presbyterian I believe), a Jehovah’s Witness building (not sure what they call those), a Lutheran church, an Episcopalian church, and the Mosque is nearly ready to open. They said it would be ready in time for Ramadan. I am really excited because I can see the dome in the view from my bedroom, and they are going to paint it gold.

It’s about time somebody around here decorated something. Thanks local Muslim congregation! Perhaps it’s the artist in me, but I love love love religious buildings. We need more creative spiritual beautiful inspirational spaces to be in.

In other news, I am working on two projects for hire. One is a wooden dragon set from China. Another patient at the chiropractor’s overheard me talking about art, and said he had bought the set for over his door, but it was unfinished wood. So…it rode home on my vespa on day to be painted. Not sure if I want to paint the two dragons identically (I like mirror images) or just have them “go”.

The other project is a large painting to go over someone’s couch. She gave me a swatch of fabric with colors that she likes, and a picture of another painting she liked and asked me to use it as a jumping off point. So we shall see what comes to pass.

I’m also giving a temporary home to my friend Alyssa’s shiba inu dog. His name is Kishu, and he lives downstairs. Peter bossed Kishu around when he first arrived, but the other two cats have been chased upstairs.

I am also planning on going to the scooter rally in Flagstaff next month. Yay for scooter rallys. Rallies? I have no idea what people do at these things, but I plan on going with a group of other scooter enthusiasts. And hopefully some of my friends. And hopefully, I won’t be a big dork with my helmet and jacket. Safety first though, right?

Below is a picture of just how awesome trampoline are because of how they make us feel. Hooray for trampolines! And hooray for MacIntyre’s and Schroeders!


we have spring too

So everyone on the internet around the country is posting pictures of sprintime blossoms jutting forth from the snowy ground.  Pushing tiny green leaves towards the sky; bursting delicate flowers on a tree branch.  Ha! Those sissy plants would burn under our scorching sun! I see your pansy petals and I raise you a prickly cactus.  You haven’t seen beauty until these plants have shown your thirsty soul a vision in the desert.



I have a lot of thoughts running through my mind from the past week in Austin. I am still processing through them. I need to reread my notes and explore what I wrote during the week. The speakers were fascinating: the pastor and writer Eugene Peterson, the musician and writer Jeremy Begbie, the poet Luci Shaw, the writer and ex-nun Barbara Nicolosi among others–I actually was able to get Peterson and Begbie to sign my books.

I met so many interesting people, I went to interesting places…I got to know Stephanie better…

I was surprised to have my ideas and notions regarding church challenged, especially since that isn’t really what anyone was talking about–I’ll say it was like smurfs never really talking about the fact that they are smurfs. (Credit to the pastor of Mosaic in Austin.)

And to change the subject, here is one of my latest portraits. This man’s name is Craig, and he tells stories that always make me wonder:




Tonight Stephanie and I leave for a week for Austin, Texas. I am thrilled to go to a place that I’ve wanted to visit for years. The art culture, the food, the music…the river…Iwould wag my tail if I had one.

Tuesday through Thursday we will attend an arts symposium. The questions of the conference will center around the role of an artist within the context of faith–in what way is art a gift, a calling, an obedience? What are the dangers of artistic activity? I myself see an artist as a prophet of sorts–one who challenges a sleeping populace.

I am looking for answers, more questions, inspiration, and challenges.

The rest of the trip will be spent in a combination of exploring Austin and hanging out with Stephanie’s best friend Melanie who is also kind enough to put us up for a week.

easter 2008


I have many thoughts in my head swirling around about the way we interact with our environments, the restorative properties of healthy communities for relationships, and the symbolism and meaning of Easter. I am having a difficult time choosing the words I want to use to describe my feelings and ideas so I will simply post some pictures of my Easter day instead.