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.


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.


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:

Where Bloggers Create: Evolution of an Art Studio

I've participated in Where Bloggers Create which is a blog party that shows off various creative spaces. I wanted to put them all into one spot for future reference. If you want to see my past entries, you can click here:

  • 2009 in its barest of bones (I didn't participate in the blog party, but wanted to show in 2010 how my room, which is a small third bedroom, had looked before.);
  • 2010 which is like a complete reveal with an additional post on my homemade hanky curtains;
  • 2011 after an overhaul of the closet (the doors fell off);
  • 2012, where I decided to show some "for real" pictures.
  • 2015, ditto "for real" pictures
  • 2016, rearranging and substantial changes to the space, and a small update regarding the corner with the easel

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Being Tested in Bella Grace

I finally succumbed and picked up a copy of the Bella Grace magazine, because the photos and art looked so peaceful, so mori girl. A special way to treat myself away from the rush of the day.

More than halfway through, I realized something: this magazine, this journal, was bringing grace, beauty and peace into the world. Sure, it occasionally got hung-up on pedicures as being something worth having, but it lingered on summer evenings and sunrises and cups of coffee (or tea). Pauses throughout the day.

And then I realized that all these authors were bloggers, like me, living their ordinary lives, but unlike me, actually documenting it. 

Yes, in a beautiful Instagram way that I could never match (nor do I want to), but I found myself comparing this blog to their writing, to what I proclaimed back in November:

"I am going to be blogging about peace, love, light, joy and transformation, and my struggles to find the same. I figure by sharing struggles and learning to speak and live these things that maybe there will be more joy, more love, more peace and less and less fear of things we don't need to be afraid of."

I have about half a dozen posts written, part-written or planned and have had since February -- and it's July, people! Why haven't I posted (or finished the blogs)

I know I shouldn't compare my writing to others. Heck, I thought I had learned that lesson long ago when I wrote romance novels. I thought I learned that lesson as I learned to become an artist. But here I am, comparing. 

But, no, not comparing. I am not thinking my writing is crap compared to theirs. I am not envious of their being published. (Been there, done that.) Being challenged, I think is a better word. Here is something that I've said I wanted to do but I simply have not made the time to do it and it's because I've been putting all my time into art which is a good and great thing. (And now that I can paint recognizable portraits, a miraculous thing!)

So, authors of Bella Grace, I accept your challenge. I mean, I was going to blog more this summer anyway, right?