Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There comes a time in every woman's life...

(or many of them) when what is needed is a good cry. I can tell I am approaching those shores now, because anything, or nothing, is causing a little tear to well up. I need a catharsis. I have two ways of accomplishing this task; one that is known to work, and one that is Not A Good Idea. I either need to watch good, cry inducing movie, or I'll end up in some long protracted emotional train wreck fight with my husband. Not that he has anything to do with the need to cry. No. He would simply be an innocent bystander. So help the poor, unsuspecting man out, and give me some good movie suggestions. He will thank you for it. And so will I.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

More on Beauty

beauty - –noun, plural -ties.

the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

Yesterday I went out with my mom and had such a nice day. We began the day at a nursery that was hosting an Antique Show. Before going in to the show, we browsed around the nursery, enjoying the beautiful pots of tulips and daffodils that were placed around the grounds, with the perennial plants just beginning their ascent and, of course, many decorative pieces like bird baths, lawn globes and cement urns dotting the landscape. There were strings of tiny mirrors hanging from the trees, glass balls of color hanging in the potting shed widows, and tiny lights wrapped around the rafters of the shed.

Inside the show, I had already determined I was not in need of anything myself, and was just going to enjoy looking at the antiques and making a conscious effort to pay attention to the details I can overlook when I am trying to possess something.

What struck me most pointedly yesterday, while examining the remnants of ages gone by, was the beauty infused in everyday items. Pens with mother of pearl inlay, rolling pins with cheerfully painted handles, even chamber pots with lovely scrolling hand painted flowers and gold accents. Door knobs were impressed with intricate designs in the brass. Even yard sticks were decorated with brass end pieces which were artfully engraved. Sewing baskets, potato bins, pillow cases, dish towels, all adorned with delicate embellishments to make them beautiful. Hair brushes, combs and mirrors, handkerchiefs and even milk pitchers, mixing bowls and door hinges had decorations on them.

I was struck by the desire of the people of the past to have beauty literally surrounding them all the time. And yet we know that life was hard then, death was a reality dealt with frequently, and illness, hunger were constant companions. Life expectancy was far less than today, and many many families lost children and babies to illness.

It seems to me that as our "security" has increased, that is, as our expectation to live to old age, and recover from illnesses, and get enough to eat regularly, the less we intentionally place beauty before us. As a matter of fact, it seems we intentionally place ugly before us, if you look at the architecture and art of the last 70 years. Now, much of what we buy is made cheap, bought cheap, and replaced with more cheap.

So what is the purpose of this little rant? I want to try to include more beauty, intentionally, in my life. I want to share beauty, and I want to be wide open to beauty, especially unexpected beauty. So, to begin the new direction this blog is going, I want to share this photo:

It is the piece of glass used by the other instructor during the icon workshop. This is the man who first taught me how to write icons. This year, he left many of his supplies behind so I could use them as well. While cleaning up, I came across this palette and thought it was beautiful. I snapped this photo before I washed it and put it away. Beautiful.

And the winner is...

Thank you all for your entries in the "Beauty Contest". Because beauty in objectively good, and I couldn't choose whose beauty is more beautiful, I decided all the entrants get a prize. E-mail me with your address and let me know if you want a print of a Mary and baby Jesus icon that I did, or a CD custom mix. If you choose a custom mix, let me know what kind of music you enjoy, so I can make it "custom".

my email address is on the side bar in the "about me" section.

AND, if you didn't enter, and are now kicking yourself, go ahead and share your beauty in the contest post com box, and I'll let you in. There are no limits to beauty!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Good Morning!

This morning, as my three years old was just waking up, she turned her sleepy little head, looked at the sun rise, and said, "Look mom, it's getting pretty morning outside." I think she meant pretty sunny, but I liked her version better!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Over at St. Paraskeva's place...

I have some more photos of icons, as well as a post with 4 different Mandylion icons, written by four different iconographers, beginning with the same pattern. Go check it out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Okay, thank you Daniel, for the gentle kick in the keister to get this done. I could give loads of excuses for the delay, but won't. Sorry for the delay =).

So here it is. This icon is also called, "The Holy Napkin" or "Not Made by Human Hands", as it is a representation of a miraculous image that Jesus left on a piece of cloth. It is in the same category as "Our Lady of Guadalupe", which was created miraculously, also.

The first picture is as far as the icon is now. I still need to put the letters on the halo, the ones that represent "I AM who AM". I was so tired by the end of the workshop I didn't want to try it then, as lettering is one of the most difficult parts for me. I will be working on that this Thursday when my class resumes.

The second picture is a closeup of the face, before the halo was put in.

One photo "in progress", the beginning of the face.

This is just before beginning the face.

And another shot of the finished icon.

This is my favorite icon I have written so far. I want to do more of this pattern, because it was such intimate contact with Our Lord, and I just fell in love.
(Remember, you can click on the images and get a closer look)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eastern Christian Blog Awards

Hey, did you all see this? Go check it out. And did you see the comment from the previous post?

FYI, you were nominated for an Eastern Christian Blog Award! Best of luck to you in the upcoming voting!

So thank you to whomever nominated me for an award. Let's see if we can get some more Eastern Christian blogs some recognition!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

So, what, no beauty?

Well, either everyone has passed up all the beauty in their lives, or you all just don't care about the contest. Alrighty, then.

***UPDATE*** Okay, then, now we're talking. I got a couple of truly lovely responses. Keep 'em coming. You've got until Wednesday, okay?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beauty Contest

Sheesh, I am sorry, I still haven't gotten time to download the photos. And I am off on a new adventure until after the weekend, and will have NO INTERNET ACCESS til then. I am already getting tremors and palpitations. But, I will use this fast to my best advantage and try to come back refreshed and ready to take on more regular blogging. That is, if anyone still comes here after this utter lack of attention.

To keep you enticed and coming back, if you would leave your moments of beauty NOT passed up in the com box, even more than once day, and more than one day (since I'll be gone a few days), I will choose a winner and award a prize.

The prize will either be a print of one of my icons, or a CD mix, custom made for the winner. I will choose by next Wednesday, so enter often and overwhelm me with beauty.

Until I return, Blessings to you all!

(photo credit to my brother, which he titled "Midwest Mountains". In my photo file, I named it "beautiful", thus the choice for this post)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Do you have time for beauty?

I found this article to be fascinating. Joshua Bell, the acclaimed violinist, plays at a D.C. train station during the morning commute. In the busy rush of the day, do think beauty broke through the rush, and touched heart and soul?

How much beauty to we all rush right past because of our hectic lives? I encourage you to read this article, slowly with a cup of tea or coffee, and think about this.

Do you have time for beauty?

(h/t ma beck at ward wide web)

Speaking of beauty, I promise to dig out my camera and get those icon photos posted today. I am still unearthing the floor in most of the bedrooms and doing laundry and catching up on bills and cleaning out my car, which I practically lived in for two weeks. Good thing that icon workshop is only once a year.

So off I go, to conquer my day, while keeping my eyes and ears open and ready to embrace beauty!


Friday, April 11, 2008

Sorry to keep you waiting...

I am still wrapping up my workshop, and haven't unearthed my camera yet, thus the lack of photos. However, I came upon this today and wanted to share. Life is a delicate balance, isn't it?

Authority and Obedience

Authority and obedience can never be divided, with some people having all the authority while others only have to obey. This separation causes authoritarian behaviour on the one side and doormat behaviour on the other. It perverts authority as well as obedience. A person with great authority who has nobody to be obedient to is in great spiritual danger. A very obedient person who has no authority over anyone is equally in danger.

Jesus spoke with great authority, but his whole life was complete obedience to his Father, and Jesus, who said to his Father, "Let it be as you, not I, would have it" (Matthew 26:39), has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (see Matthew 28:18). Let us ask ourselves: Do we live our authority in obedience and do we live our obedience with authority?

Monday, April 07, 2008

A cute picture to fill the gap

I am crazy busy with the icon workshop. I have finished my newest icon and will be posting a picture tonight or tomorrow. I have not been home much at all since the workshop began, so blogging has been non-existent. I hope you are all well, and I will catch up with you when the workshop is over.

This photo is from Easter, and I realize it is the only picture of all my kidlets together I have taken in a very long time. They are getting so big, aren't they?