Thursday, August 25, 2016

Finding sanctuary

I have gone silent a bit lately because well ... I have dogs once more. Two adorable, smarter-than-me, could-do-with-some-training (and they're getting it), wee dogs that have been taking up a lot of my attention lately as we settle in together. They're shelter dogs, were turned in as strays, and had terrible matted coats so they have some serious separation anxiety issues but we're working on them.

Earlier in the year, I finished reading "Grounded", by Diana Butler Bass. The opening introduction inspired me to write a poem about the two Mt. Calvarys. (Mt. Calvary is a monastery retreat house in Santa Barbara.) The one on the hill top before it was destroyed by fire and its current location. I thought I'd share the poem.

On a mountaintop
My heart broke open,
filled with God's warmth

In a city sanctuary:
Conversations with bees,
Rubbing wood prayer beads
As storm blue clouds loomed,
bad exhausts and loud music
Whittled away into quiet frog song.


I'll share more thoughts about "Grounded" in a later post.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

God's Love Stories ... listening and loving

My superpower is to get out of a crowd quickly. I'm not a small person, so I do indeed treat this as a particular gift.

While I do have, in some measure, kindness and empathy, it is seasons like the one we're currently in where I wish I had it to the extent that it is a superpower: Empathy Girl. (See, I already have a name for it, and I am longing to do a portrait of her too.)

The articles I've found are about coming together as human beings to love and care for one another.

First, though, I highly recommend this Meditation When the World is Falling Apart by Christianne Squires at Still Forming. It is a beautiful thing.

And for some light-hearted, Pokemon-Go related fun, have you seen this video by Deena Blizzard called Chardonnay Go?  (also a Facebook video)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Happy Pride

Happy Pride!

I’ve never been to a Pride Parade before, let alone walked in one. 

It’s the crowds, you see, and the heat, as I told a friend.

But after the tragedy at Pulse in Florida, I felt a pull toward showing my support for the LGBTQI community, but by that time entries into the parade had closed.

No worries, our new deacon at Good Sam got a small handful of us organized and we walked with St. Paul’s Cathedral, along with about four other churches on Saturday.

Three church ladies walk in a parade...

As we waited our turn to go, we cheered wildly for the various police departments and law enforcement that passed us by. Because, Dallas. I have no idea how San Diego measures up against the reformed police department in Dallas, but in that moment, it didn’t matter.

I looked up at the streamers carried by the St. Bart’s youth, that usually represent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in church. And here they were in the world.

Yes, I thought. The Holy Spirit is here.


Or rather, it was a reminder that the Holy Spirit was present, because the Holy Spirit/God is everywhere.

For me, walking in the parade wasn’t about showing how my church is a safe space for LGBTQI, although it is.

For me, it was an expression of love. 

What I didn’t expect was to be loved back.

Hard.

There were hugs and high fives. Eyes met and grins were exchanged.

“Happy Pride!” the watchers yelled. “Happy Pride!” I yelled back, waving until my arm was sore and then some.

The parade was over before I knew it even though it felt like we waited forever to get started (we, did, about an hour, I think.)

I can’t wait to celebrate again next year with people who revel in being free to be who they are and to love who they love. Which at the Pride Parade, seems to be just about everybody.

I also want to be a mermaid next year with blue hair and shiny cotton candy pink scales. But I might settle for digging out my fluorescent pink socks.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Update to Where Bloggers Create

I have an update to my overhaul of my art space and it is also an opportunity to link to this year's Where Bloggers Create, hosted by Karen Valentine at My Desert Cottage.

Where Bloggers Create

I found that I needed somewhere to put a palette/paint mixing place, and as the goal was not to use the icon writing space for anything but icon writing, I brought a piece of furniture that had been banished from the space for a few years, put some plastic wrap on it to protect the top and I'm currently using palette paper for the mixing. When I run out of that, I'll look into get some glass or perspex or something for the top.

Here is that part of the space before:


and after (apologies for the lighting, it was twilight when I took the photo):


It's a pine bedside table that I painted and used for storage for a while.

So if you haven't seen my overhaul that I did in June, you can see that at this link.

And for previous instantiations of my craft room now art studio, you can go to this page to see all those links.

I'm off to enjoy looking at all the creative rooms in this year's link party!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

How We Can End Violence

It's been a horrible few weeks in America. There seems to be some sort of madness infecting the population: fear, hatred, anger.

And let's be honest, we've all felt one or more of those things in the past month, whether it's anger at our government for failing to implement protective measures for its citizenry (come on, not even a little gun control?!), fear of being hurt, dispossessed, rendered voiceless, etc.

If you took a good look at yourself, you've probably at least reacted to something in fear, or anger, or frustration. I know I have. It's part of being human. But as a nation, we are out of balance. We are letting our darker natures get the better of us.

After each police-caused death of an African-American, we cry out for anti-bias training in the police forces as part of the reform.

Yes, but where do police officers come from? From our towns, from our churches, our temples and our mosques, from our friends, and from our families. Where do you think they learn this bias? All of the above, plus the media.

So if I were President of the United States (and I won't ever be because I wasn't born here), this is what I would do:

Institute nation-wide anti-bias training.

Train the teachers, the preschoolers, the college students, every person in the workforce, in every religious center and sanctuary, every retired person, every senior citizen's center.

Everybody.

No exceptions.

And, the training has to be taken every two or three years, once you pass the first course. Just as you would renew your First AID, CPR or Safeguarding God's People.

You could take it in any language spoken in the world, even Klingon.

And you would have to. It would be part of you or a company receiving tax deductions, or a discount on your healthcare plan, or both.

It could expand to include non-violent communication, for example, or other ways we can become a better, stabler, nation.

Facebook has a training program already in place. The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) already has a curriculum for educators and children from pre-K to high school.

We can do this.

We can stop hatred.

We can stop fear.

We can be a better nation.

But it won't happen if I just sit here and write this blog post and do nothing else. It would take a campaign of writing to our State and Federal representatives, of talking about this with our friends and in our wider communities.

Am I crazy? Or could this actually work? Are you in with me?

Monday, July 4, 2016

9 Things I would never had known if I hadn't moved to America

Hubby and I on a rainy day in Disneyland eating churros
The title seems to maybe have the wrong number of negatives, but you know what I mean, right?
  1. How to write romances: early on I joined Romance Writers of America, because that's what I was writing and I didn't know anybody outside of my husband's family
  2. How to spell without a "u", e.g. "colour" vs "color"
  3. fish tacos
  4. churros
  5. I really doubt I would've learned more about my faith, the Bible, Christian history thanks to taking Education for Ministry and from becoming members at Good Sam
  6. Benedictine monastery food is really good
  7. I would've have pronounced "Cursillo" incorrectly. (Hint: it's not Curs-ILL-oh)
  8. How amazingly wonderful Disneyland is 
  9. Judaism: working in a synagogue has taught (and is teaching me) a lot. Not a whole lot of opportunities to work in a synagogue where I grew up
  10. Baseball. Not that I’m particularly interested in team sports, but the first year I lived in the U.S., we were right by the stadium. Never got into football though.

This is not to say I would not have learned new things or grown in different ways, just that this is the path I took and given that it's the 4th of July aka Independence Day, appropriate to share today.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Young Victoria Collaborative Book

I wanted to put all these posts together from 2010 of a collaborative book that we put together:

I posted in three parts:


I handmade cuffs as a thank you to each of the participants: