Sunday, January 27, 2008

struggles with the storm

I am having difficulty with Jesus rebuking a bunch of men on a stormy boat. The fisherman were in a fearful place. They knew of no such power to calm storms at sea. They knew people died in shipwrecks.

What am I to get from this? Have no fear for Jesus will save me from what appears certain death.

Or is it the fear that prevents a full life. Panic is not good, ask those men playing with millions on Wall Street.

I went into this weekend a bit panicked. A busy schedule will do that for me. A trip planned on Saturday, company coming for lunch on Sunday, a house not so tidy, work to do on this and that... how could one survive such a thing.

Well, we survived. My parents got their Christmas present on Saturday... potato pancakes. Here I am in action at my sister's place...

Before I even had told my family that I would rather make them a traditional meal than buy them a present, my one sister had bought me a meat grinder for Christmas. You see Pop Pop, as we called him, used one to prepare the uncooked potatoes. My sister sent a few reminders for me to call my aunt to get the recipe, which had no Swiss cheese, black pepper, or parsley all of which went into the ones I had been making for years. Simple, but they did taste like those we feasted on in Emmaus, PA.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jesuits in outerspace, gardeners in Ambler

This week I heard that for 200,000 dollars folk can spend a few moments in weightlessness. So far I know of no Jesuits who have signed on for the trip. This is about enjoyable reading and again it is about what books can flow into your life.

We do utilize the library here in Lansdale, but for a greater selection we head off to the Genius Belt... Bucks County likes to consider themselves this because of a wave of artists and writers that flowed into the area years ago. The Michener museum next to the library has a great selection of Pennsylvania Impressionism that speaks so greatly in my heart that loves the landscape they captured on canvas. We live just outside of the belt.

Anyway... type in Jesuit into a library search engine and next thing you know you could be reading science fiction. I just finished Children of God by Maria Doria Russell, which is a continuation of her first novel-- The Sparrow. Recommend both to fans of Jesuits and/or science fiction. She was not afraid to get help along the way so that what she did was authentic and in the list of those she acknowledge you will find a few men with S.J. after their name. Her list of experts made me think of my journey.

Eight years ago I was offered a job opportunity which I did not feel qualified for and said so to the person offering the job. I love the job and am glad I took it, but have always felt embarrassed by my lack of training. In those years I have learned quite a bit about horticulture, but did not search out expert advice very often. Thursday evening I sat (dug frozen soil to send for testing, taste tested 10 types of apples, weeded through seed packets, became part of a group of young undergrad students) through my first horticulture class at Temple Ambler. So now it is time to kick myself ever so gently for waiting 8 years and pat myself on the back (ever so gently) for not waiting any longer.

And bringing the decision to take the class before God in discernment--- the downsides of it taking up time, money, and energy; seem to be out weighed by how I see this will benefit my students.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

taking some constructive criticism

On Saturday I drove to Glenside to do something new.

And at Dovetail Artisans I placed myself out in the open because of my desire to sell stained glass. The owner of the shop spoke honestly with me. She liked what I like best about my work-- the designs and the color. What she had problems with was my soldering, especially the hooks on the sun catchers. I hate that part of the process. I have struggled with those hooks so I found an easier way, but that led for to really large hooks. I guess you can say the designs won out since she took 9 and rejected 8, but I could see the desire in her eyes for those I brought home. As I wandered around her shop I was honored to have become one of the craftsmen she represents.

Last night at church four of us sat with the tower of Babel story in Genesis. God's ways baffled us, but one there brought up the theory that building a tower to honor themselves was what led to God's action. we talked about pride and how that gets in our way. God has given me a doodler's heart and I need to see my creations as a blessing.

At Dovetail Artisans, I was listening to criticism and I could feel the tension that such words can cause in a prideful person. But I sat with that emotion and told myself that it was a good thing to hear.

Like when mosaic woman tells me I am a fool if I walk down the hallway with bare feet. I found this in the carpet the other day, and now I have to take the blame for it because it sure does look like some glass I was cutting this week.....

Monday, January 21, 2008

the boy who shows up in John

I am glad John mentioned where the bread and fish come from...(John 6:1-15) Last night the spiritual exercises had me go to the feeding of the 5000 and in John there is a boy who shows up after the men don't see possibilities for instead the men see limitations that prevent action.

"Not enough money and resources," the men cry out, "how can we feed the hungry?" A boy shows up with five loaves and two fish and Jesus moves into action. My imagination takes over I follow the boy who fees moved to go towards Jesus with his food. I don't see it as a chance encounter.

I want to be like that boy, who has something and brings it forth to God to help make the kingdom happen. No time. No money. No talent. No resources. No energy. I want to listen to myself and when I hear what the disciples said to Jesus, catch it and question myself if whether or not it is true.

Time, money, energy, talent, resources... yes, there are limits to all of these in our lives. My goal is to question if I use them as a reason why I don't do something and to examine what I do with what I have to offer.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

what do all these things have in common?

yes, even the VW Rabbit was made in my home state. This is one exhibit we checked out before listening to Cyrus..... The museum shop is a combo of cheap stuff for students on field trips and handcrafted items from the local community college and members of the PA Guild of Craftsmen. Mosaic woman is juried into a local group of the latter so she queried and the pesron from the shop approved of the mosaics, thus Mosaic woman's wares will soon be on sale at the PA State Museum. I am proud of her.

Monday, January 14, 2008

living up to my expectations

My first post to this blog was inspired by the man playing piano above and when I saw him last night.... wow. four tunes in he went solo on "Tea For Two" and then "How Great Thou Art" after which he played to pieces favored by Elvis Presley. Cyrus Chestnut has taken some criticism for having a whole Cd of these songs which Elvis sang, though I have not heard any complaints about his playing on that recent CD. The man played everything from Bach to Ellington and did another hymn in the second set. I closed my eyes and truly listened to what Cyrus had to say to us.

I wanted to have this blog be about my whole life and it has been that way so far... Ignatius, Strudel, quilts, teaching, gardening, stained glass, mosaic woman, my church community

tonight I sat with Bartimaeus (Mark 10: 46-52). Jesus was leaving his town. It was now or never see again. I sat listening to him call out to Jesus. I heard the desperation, the hope, the desire. Was it mine? I have not felt so close to Jesus through the exercises for days.

What would I do if I had that one chance to call out and Jesus stopped and said to me, "What do you want me to do for you?" One last chance, would I ignore those around me to be quiet and call out for mercy. Would I desire it as much as Bartimaeus? something happened to me tonight.

Last night Cyrus let an 18 year old take the piano. As he left the young man to play, Cyrus said, "You may never have get this chance to play again..." When Cyrus came back up, he said to the young man, "I want to see what you got in four years, you have been served!"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

baptism's power and humility

The spiritual exercises have gone another week of week 2. They are stirring my soul, so I guess I am getting my work out.

first I am in awe of the powerful nature of Jesus's baptism. Following him out of that scene over the last few weeks has shown me how it energized him into a life with a desire to do God's will. Made me think of being confirmed and how little that meant at the time. Being anointed on Christmas Day 10 years ago, a month after returning to church, comes to mind as a day of accepting the spirit, or at least becoming accepting of the spirit.

I have been selected as the person to gather photos to celebrate my parents, both of whom are turning 75 in 2008 and celebrating their 50th anniversary. A package came from California this week. Downloading the photos I see one I had never seen before.... my elder sister at her adult baptism which took place out west.

I sat with the three phases of humility this past week and it brings up my struggle with self-promotion. I feel awkward advertising my craft.

The other night I came across someone selling stained glass for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Is my goal to limit my work to 5% of the population, to have fame, to have great wealth? What is my desire? Is it to do what I have loved all my life, create designs? If my craft brings me fame and wealth, then I will have to accept or reject those things based on how it touches me.

What do I desire from my life? What great desires does God want to stir up in my soul? I have doodled all my life.

Last night we went to Philadelphia to see Maria Schneider's Jazz orchestra. I closed my eyes and was taken away into the music's beauty and complexity. She has made a life from her passion. How many women who desire to compose and direct big bands end up 20 years winning a Grammy award? Did she do this for the fame or did the fame come because of a combination of talent and passion?

at the concert we ended up sharing a table with a jazz promoter. He was quite excited about one singer (a future post) and gave me her card. I gave him mine (first time I did such a thing) and told him what we make and told him we would save him a seat if he ever came back to the art museum.

with all this mind.... here is my latest piece...mostly made from scraps remaining after making the piece which I dropped...


Monday, January 7, 2008

tucked in-- my quilt's story

I am in love with quilts. My one grandma did that to me and that is me tucked into the one she made for us way back when we lived in Oregon. A few years ago I took a beginners class and off to the races I went with no set plan. I did the squares I was taught. Found some of interest. Designed one myself. Ended up with 16 squares which I pieced together. Added a border. folded it up for a summer. bought batting and fabric for the back. put that in a closet. took a class on stained glass. changed my studio from a quilter to a glass worker setting.

One day (a while ago) at church a woman mentioned quilting. I mentioned my project. She may have said it was a sin for it to be going nowhere. time passed, but she wanting me to repent did not forget.

A few days before Christmas I took what I had to her house. With her husband's help we basted the thing together. Finishing a beer and resting our aging bodies we talked about the actual quilting process. I said, "when am I going to do that?"

she said, "you could pay someone to machine quilt it."

It sounded like the best idea, Then she said, "But of course that means you have to take all the stitches from basting out." Oh yes, to be a goof-ass.

The next Sunday in church she said, "have you called the quilter yet?" I said NO.

She had another option. She would be glad and honored to quilt it for me. I said BARTER.

Christmas Eve, I said, "Come to church tomorrow and I will hand it to you."

She said, "Great, I can take it to Ohio with me."

I said, "You are going to take my quilt to Ohio!!!!" She said YES.

Yesterday I asked if she was finished yet and promised I would not ask again.

She has started.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

How to respond????

When Jesus turns around and says, "What do you want?" How do you respond?

Those words from Jesus stayed with me this past week and Wednesday night I when I reflected on this week of the exercises.

I desire to keep following Jesus.
I desire to find what desires God has for me.
I desire to live fully.
I desire to relate to others, intimately.
I desire a heart that does not harden as I age as a teacher.
I desire to be filled with hope, peace, joy, and love.
I desire to be aware of my physical, emotional, and spiritual self.
I desire to .... one day open up that Marula Jelly that Mosaic woman bought me for Christmas.

speaking of Mosaic woman. it is about time to show off some of her work....

click to go to ETSY

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

the roller coaster is in a valley

In a funk today...

it isn't one main thing and it is ....

Mosaic woman has a cold and is distracted by her day tomorrow.

It is my last day of my vacation and I face all that I didn't get to, including the house chores I had said I would get to, well I got to some.

But what keeps floating into my mind is my latest piece of stained glass. Thought of last January, designed in April, redesigned, redesigned again this week, then a few days of cutting, foiling to Red Garland, soldering it into one piece, then being pleased when it fit well into an 8x10 frame and putting on some silicone to hold it in. Then the moment of truth, I carefully held it up to the light. I was well pleased, and this gift for a friend was done. I took it down to show Margaret. I set it down. I wanted another look. I held it up and it fell from the frame and bounced off our radiator as it fell. I put it back in the frame.

After dining out, I pick it up. Something is wrong. I look closer, a piece is broken. I look closer and at least 7 of the 40 pieces are cracked.

It can be fixed but that will take learning a new skill and lots of time. I go back to work tomorrow and after a frustrating attempt at trying to get one piece out Mosaic woman wisely said, "put it aside."

Tonight I sat with Jesus as he changed water into wine. At the end I hear these words... "Keep riding the roller coaster" you know.. life, ups and downs.

In the midst of the funk I made cabbage and noodles for lunch, and banana pancakes for dinner when Mosaic woman asked for a delay in making our traditional black-eye peas and cornbread. I also sat with her as we read through a couple more months of our journals for 2007 and talked about that roller coaster ride.