Friday, April 18, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
As I've previously mentioned, I have a reading goal this year of st last one book every two weeks. Who better to answer my questions to than Mr. Darwin himself? So, I have downloaded On the Origin of Species on my Kindle and plan to make it my next read.
Monday, April 14, 2014
[P.S., if you do want to learn more about including philosophy in fiction, here is a handy-dandy guide I found that is pretty informative on the technique. ;)]
Friday, April 11, 2014
One form of kaleidoscopic art that enthralls me as an adult is the mural mosaic. There are a few websites out there devoted to these, including muralmosaic.blogspot.com and muralmosaic.com. Here are a few of my favorites I found from a quick image search:
I even found a brief tutorial from Lewis Lavoie on how to make them:
I think it would be really cool to take all the photographs oneself of things relevant to the "big picture" and make one of these. I might just make it a long-term project!
Thursday, April 10, 2014
|In the process of drying (the color is grey, and I made my own chalk paint by mixing|
2 parts paint, 1 part powdered/dry plaster of paris, and 1/2 part water).
|Found some little "wood plugs" for 59 cents each at Sutherlands and painted them, too.|
|Had some molding adhesive lying around, and it is clear, so that's what I used to attach|
both the plugs and the glass tops (below).
|I had two glass tops lying around from a couple of old, cheap three-legged plywood stands that|
I don't even have anymore (just threw the last one out last week because the flimsy legs were skewed and
it toppled over all the time).
|Side view: Ta-da! :)|
Monday, April 7, 2014
Sometimes I long for the unknown, the great adventure, the grass on the other side. And usually, once I get there, for a while I am on unfamiliar ground and have to get used to it, but eventually I find it's a good experience.
Lately I find myself still eager to press on into uncharted territory (like all the cliches I'm using here?!), but at the same time feeling a little disoriented at the quick departure from what has for so long been familiar and comfortable.
One day at a time, eh?
I guess I'm feeling like a missionary, or a foreign exchange student - everything about the culture initially seems different - the view, the language, the food, the customs, the dress.... But...well, don't you love a story that brings to light how two seemingly disparate things are really very much alike?
Like, for instance, I finished reading Dorothy Parker's Complete Stories last week. In one of the sketches, she compared a couple's "average" life in New York City, and a visit from their aunt from a small town who preferred her own way of living from day to day. Afterward the city couple visit their aunt in the small town and, though the stores have different names and the differences are keenly felt, what Parker so plainly describes is that the "average" daily life of a small-town inhabitant is exactly the same as that of a city-dweller. We all have flashes of excitement amidst the usual (and comfortable) routine.
So...in times when I get in a hurry to solidify some feeling of "normalcy," or worry that there is still so much to figure out and wonder if I will ever attain the routine of life that I hope to maintain for a while (you know, something about "settling down" or something), I try to remind myself to live in the present. Sometimes I have to remind myself that the future in fact looks pretty bright, if a little intimidating, and I just have to keep plodding along and I'll make it.
One of my priorities the last year or so has been to enjoy the plodding. Some days I'm more successful at that than others. But that's one of the reasons I enjoy participating in the A to Z Challenge (last year was my first year). I enjoy writing and, in particular, blogging, and interacting with other bloggers.
What are some of the things you do on purpose to enjoy the journey on the way to wherever you're headed?
Saturday, April 5, 2014
One of my favorite hours is the one just before the sun rises. I love the stillness, the coolness, the quiet. So many are still sleeping, but yet there is a twinge of hope in the atmosphere that in just a little while, movement and noise and life will invade the stillness and bring another day and all the opportunities it affords. I always find concentration easy during this hour. It brings me joy, whether I attempt to do something physical, or read, or enjoy a coffee, or just lie in bed and savor the last vestiges of the night's close darkness. These are moments of calm and peace.
I spent a few years commuting an hour each way to school two or three times a week. Some of my class began early in the morning, so I would watch the sunrise as I drove East, and many mornings the fields along the highway would cradle fog in their crevices, or frost on their surfaces. And then there were the first "warmer" days near the end of Spring, when even at that hour, I could enjoy rolling the windows down and breathing the envigorating morning air.
No, I have not often made it a point to arise early in order to enjoy my favorite part of the day. But it is one of the best things about being an extreme night owl!!
Allow me to share a few of my early morning moments with you:
|Took a walk in the new snow after I got home from work one morning.|
|Leaving a work-site in the country one morning I saw this fog-covered pond.|
|South Padre Island sunrise, May 25, 2013.|
|Walking to my car when I got out of work one morning a few months ago.|
|Another angle in the sky the same morning as the picture above (it had just finished raining).|
|Driving home from work one day; I love how the sun just touches the topmost leaves of this very tall tree.|
|Frost on the trail of an early morning walk this past Fall.|
|An icy design on my windshield, you guessed it, when I got off work one morning a couple of months ago.|
Thursday, April 3, 2014
My friend has a dog. I have a dog. 90% of the time, said dogs get along splendidly. They run and laugh and share inside jokes and sit around the campfire at night playing their guitars and singing songs about how they once asked their fourth grade teacher if she wore a wig. 95% of the time even. But that other 5%...?
Doom and gloom
Many a dreary day I have spent these past three weeks wondering if I was going to die. I have been so sick. My immune system was down because of one particularly potent infection, so I ended up getting the flu (I think), an internal organ seriously altered through fever and medication, and strep throat in addition to the original infection. All at the same time!! Missed almost three weeks of work and tonight (Thursday) is my first night back since March 15! I am so glad to be counted among the living again.
One of the items on my Life List for this year was to read at least one book every two weeks. I've been in school so long and had required reading that has left me with little space to read for general enjoyment, so I wanted to catch up a little on my game this year! This week I finished Dorothy Parker's Complete Stories and started Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. I found it on some book list that had computed ask the most popular book lists and it said that, due to the number of lists that included this title and how far up on the rankings, it was the number one recommended book for a person to include on their list of works read. Well, numbers don't lie, so I'm reading it! And it has held my interest from the start.
I'm about a hundred twenty pages or so in, and one of the characters is on his way to visit a wayward brother he hasn't seen in a while, and considering all the misdeeds that brother has done, from benign drunkenness to beating young children, attempting to swindle money from another brother in court, and assaulting village elders, among many other things. And then the character, Levin, thinks the following:
"It was all horribly disgusting, yet to Levin it appeared not at all in the same disgusting light as it inevitably would to those who did not know Nikolay, did not know all his story, did not know his heart.
"Levin remembered that when Nikolay had been in the devout stage, the period of fasts and monks and church services, when he was seeking in religion a support and a curb for his passionate temperament, everyone, far from encouraging him, had jeered at him, and [Levin] too, with the others. They had teased him, called him Noah and Monk; and, when he had broken out [into all sorts of senseless debauchery], no one had helped him, but everyone had turned away from him with horror and disgust.
"Levin felt that, in spite of all the ugliness of his life, his brother Nikolay, in his soul, in the very depths of his soul, was no more in the wrong than the people who despised him. He was not to blame for having been born with his unbridled temperament and his somehow limited intelligence. But he had always wanted to be good. ..."
Now, I do believe in such a thing as moral responsibility for one's own actions, but I love this little except from Tolstoy's book, in that it considers what makes a person behave in a certain way. I'm sure you've all had discussions at some point or other about how some people respond to tragedy and injustice by becoming stronger/better, and some people seem to either develop a victim mentality or just respond in what we might consider a "negative" way.
I think at various times I have responded to my own trials in both manners. And, truth be told, there have been times when I have honestly wondered, "What is the point in even trying anymore?" I guess a lot of people would consider me weak. Or even bad. Who knows?
But that's one of the things that appeals to me about Jesus. He doesn't just look at my weaknesses; He knows their causes. And yeah, He encourages me to do and be better, and in encouragement we so often find strength to do what is encouraged. Thank God for his grace.
But let us remember, people respond to grace in different ways, too, whether receiving it freely or thinking, "What's the catch?" or rejecting it because of feelings of unworthiness. Can we not be more compassionate with people? I think Jesus is.
I am not sure whether, over the course of Tolstoy's book the characters will change, either for better or for worse, or whether forgiveness might be one of the themes of the book (as it has already been a subject of discussion between two of the main characters). But I think perhaps it is a theme of life in general, and maybe that is why it is so emphasized by the gospel. Life consists of constantly and fluidly learning to live with and love others despite, and in many cases, because of, their limitations and/or weaknesses.