Thursday, June 27, 2013

Joy is Always a Promise

More L'Engle. I'm reading her again, so expect more.

Frame by Cali Design
Overlay by Cynthia Powell
Actions from "Greater than Gatsby"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Endless Hope

Without a doubt, Madeleine L'Engle ranks as one of my top three all time authors. Her poetry and prose captures the thread between humanity and divinity like no other American author, particularly of the 20th century. She sees the Creator as both loving and firm, but above all else as the source of all Hope.

This particular poem seemed to fit this image well. It is a picture of Caty Mae in New York City, walking along the Brooklyn Bridge in the rain. I love that she chose a bright pink umbrella. The hopeful color contrasts with the grey city and the gloomy weather and shouts a proclamation that Hope is an endless ring of light piercing the darkness of a lost world.

A great ring of pure & endless light
Dazzles the darkness in my heart
And breaks apart the dusky clouds of night.
The end of all is hinted in the start.

When we are born we bear the seeds of blight;
Around us life & death are torn apart,
Yet a great ring of pure and endless light
Dazzles the darkness in my heart.

It lights the world to my delight.
Infinity is present in each part.
A loving smile contains all art.
The motes of starlight spark & dart.

A grain of sand holds power & might.
Infinity is present in each part,
And a great ring of pure and endless light
Dazzles the darkness in my heart.

Madeleine L'Engle

Photo courtesy Raina Hoover

Most Elements from DigiDesignResort, Vintage Artistry collection

Other Elements by Kim Klassen (texture overlay) and Faith Sisters (stitches)

Monday, June 17, 2013


I am a planner. I always have been and probably always will be. I keep ideas running through my brain until I have a moment to set them down or work them out. Even this post is a result of planning. I've ruminated on it for a couple of weeks already, and only now have carved out the time to work out my thoughts on being in limbo. Again.

Limbo is a unique turn of phrase. Originally it was the name of the place where good people went after death if they were not believers in Christ. Early Catholics considered "Limbo" to be where the Patriarchs gathered until Jesus "descended into Hell" (The Apostle's Creed). In purely etymological terms, it is a Teutonic word meaning "border" or "hem". It actually is the same root word as the English "limb".  In that sense, Limbo (or "out on a limb") aptly describes where I happen to be right now and for the near future.

I do not have a teaching contract for next year.

You read that correctly. As of this writing, I do not have any lesson plans to prepare, nor do I have any income to anticipate. I've been here before. And Limbo is just as uncomfortable now as it was the last time. And the time before. And all the times before that, including the times I perched on an actual tree limb to read books in peace as a child.

I didn't expect to be in Limbo this time around. I didn't see it coming. The path to Limbo this trip is not worth detailing, because however I arrived, I am here, looking out at an uncertain future, wondering what lies just beyond my field of vision from my branch.

As a planner, I've taken some actions. I've proposed a new class. I've applied to graduate school. I've taken a job at a bakery where I educate people on gluten and Celiac disease while doling out delicious tidbits. I am determined to wait here in Limbo until I know what's next.

It isn't comfortable. It isn't easy. But, I have learned a few things from my previous experiences:

1. Limbo isn't the end. It is the edge of something. The something is indistinct, and perhaps even completely unexpected, but it is there, just out of sight.

2. Limbo is temporary. Even the ancients understood that Limbo (or Limbus patrum) was a holding cell of sorts, where people went before the Messiah freed them. It was not a place of punishment; just waiting.

3. Limbo can be beneficial. Call it a rest between intensities. What's past is known; what's future is unknown, what's now is a break, a respite, a time when nothing in particular can go horribly wrong.

4. Limbo is a place and time to learn. It is quiet here. There are no demands. There are no expectations. There are no master calendars calling for attention to deadlines.

5. Jesus taught that, even in Limbo, there's no reason for worry:

 For this reason I say to you,do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the [p]air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?  (Matthew 6:25-29)

That's  reassuring. It makes Limbo so much less difficult to know that God is Sovereign, He has a plan, and He knows what I need. More importantly, He knows when I don't need something, and He takes it away no matter how much I cry about the loss. Not having a contract for the fall surprised me. I cried. I analyzed. I thought and planned and considered and contemplated. BUT, I did not worry. He makes the day lilies in my front yard glorious for one short day. The gardenias and jasmine flowers offer fragrance for just a few days of the year. The cardinals and finches visit my backyard and build nests whether or not I have seed in the feeder. If He provides for these little things, I know He has a plan for my life.

Even when I am in Limbo.

Naughty Dog

We really do feed him!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Shavuot with my Thursday Girls

It is Well

Photo: mine Gulf Shores July 2012
Word Art: mine from the hymn by Horatio Spafford

Overlay: Kim Klassen, grungeframed
Swirl: butterflydesign, DigiDesignResort

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Life is Better: Experiment with a Wooden Pallet

I don't fill every day with deep spiritual thoughts. I probably don't spend enough days in trying to find my way in God's plan for me. But there are days when I need to simply create. God made me a creative person. so I find great pleasure in projects, especially when the materials are on hand and/or free. This particular project only cost a few dollars for the hanging hardware and some cheap white primer. I already have paint and the pallet came from a neighbor's trash (I asked permission to take it).

 I dismantled the pallet and sanded the boards. I used my father-in-law's power sander from about 1970, and my shoulders tell the story about how heavy it is. (It will last forever, I think.) I then chose boards that fit reasonably well together. Using two shorter boards, wood glue, and half inch nails, I assembled the "canvas". I primed with white primer and sanded a bit to get a rustic look.

masked off and painted

The background concept came from some napkins I saw at Target. I masked off the background shapes before painting a hombre of blue/greens. Then I sanded it again by hand.

masks removed

I had seen the sentiment on Pinterest. It absolutely reflects my firm convictions on the matter. I did lay out the lettering with Photo Shop Elements (best investment ever) and then used a projector (a yard sale find a few years ago) so I could trace the words. I may be creative, but my writing is and always has been, abysmal.

I painted the letters with primer first, then outlined in yellow, then painted with white acrylic paint, darkened the outline with yellow ocher acrylic, and called it a day. I may go back and sand it one more time, but for now, I call it done.

 I'm happy with how it all turned out.