Monday, May 31, 2010

a deal on classic jazz

Well the heat has kept me away from my garden, for now. But Margaret faced the studio to do some grouting. I was working on a final exam for my physics students, when she called down... "Can you put on some music?"

Like she would have to twist my arm.

Earlier in the morning, we had stumbled into watching The Memorial Day Parade in Lansdale. We had walked to Not Just Sandwiches in Lansdale for pancakes (if you dig nutmeg...) and some coffee. After the parade, I expressed my desire to check out the LP's inside of The Attic on Main Street.

For $6.36:


taste it...



taste it...


taste it...

like I said... she didn't have to twist my arm.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


It was nearly four years ago, I came home from a haircut and took a shower. It was so easy to wash my hair that I was quite sure that I would not grow my hair out again.

Today I came home with a sour cherry pie, a loaf of bread and in a separate bag...

Thursday night I picked up a book and read an essay about autism. I knew, as I turned the reading lamp off, that I would be looking up a video. What I didn't know was that there is some major doubt about the story and I gave it 15 minutes of research and came out of it with uncertainty.

Friday night I was quite certain I was going to donate my hair to Locks Of Love and mentioned it on Facebook. This morning I woke up with one friend's concern about the charity. Turns out they are not perfect, but who is? But the thing is, my hair came home with me so I could spend time researching the "best" place to send my hair, or I can look up the address of Locks of Love.

For now, I am certain that I have the flexibility and the spatial skills to reach behind my head to take a photo of the hair that remains... style is due to my cousin, who cut my hair, and humidity.

and, I am not sure if my hair will ever be so long again, or if God exists, or if I will be kind to strangers, or if I will be as foolish as I was last night when I stuck my hand into some sheets of stained glass until the pain drew my hand back out.

I am sure that I am grateful for bandages, anti-bacteria ointment, and the love of a good woman who digs my hair.

Oh yeah... that book. I left it at home. So I am going to rise early and go bird watching tomorrow then drop it off at the book bin. Life can be uncertain which is why I just may never use a daily planner or maybe it is why I may start using one.


and then there is this classic rock tune that came on as I drove home today...

"well you walk into a restaurant..."

Friday, May 28, 2010

The PA Guild of Craftsmen are still hosting a party

The Garden Party is almost over in Lancaster, PA. When Mosaic Woman got her craft accepted into the show, we decided to do a new collaboration. The only thing blooming were crocuses, so for one of the two we chose orange and violet for the letters:

We decided to make another, so last night I placed 24 pieces of glass into her studio...

as for my own garden, I have high hopes of eliminating some weeds this weekend, but first comes a hair cut, first in nearly 4 years

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bonaventure, more after Monday thoughts

From what I read out loud to my friends on Monday, what lingers the most is the voice inside of me that lets me know when I could have handled a situation better.

today at work I sent an e-mail expressing some thoughts, I could have conversed, but it seemed best to... How do we know what is best? How do we know anything for certain? How do we decide if our actions are good?

So I left Monday night with some things to think about, but I also have wondered if I led the group in the direction to avoid a deep darkness.

Two Mondays ago I spoke of trying to imagine the pain of others as a way to help us respond to it. I spoke of an example of stretching myself into a place that is far from my own life and experiences.

However, a friend is in pain, and I don't have to imagine as hard this time. I have been there, and maybe I was not wanting to feel that pain again. Sunday night's read of Bonaventure had one sentence jump out at me and made me think of my friend's pain ...

Bonaventure says,

When one has fallen down.
he must lie there
unless someone lend a helping hand for him to rise.

Do I know for sure that I went the wrong direction Monday night... No, but it kind of feels that way. Am I moving in the right direction now... possibly.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

camp men-o-lan, a peaceful place

I thought of momentum on Friday. Our arrival at home from work found three bits of good crafting news...

an ETSY order for four of M's mosaics.
an acceptance into a craft show in our home town of Lansdale
and another acceptance into a holiday show in Bethlehem... Pennsylvania

so we headed out this morning to do our first outdoor show with that momentum. Set up went well, the pancakes were tasty, the neighboring booths were filled with handmade gems.

Sales were a bit slow, but word has it the crowds were low this year (weather?). However, it was peaceful.

Friday afternoon with five minutes to go in my work week, I walked into a friends office. She greeted me with a hug and a chair to sit down. I spoke of how it had been a rough time of late.

And there I was, not worried about sales, or this or that or the other thing. Just sitting and enjoying the peaceful place we had been invited to sell our craft. I walked around a lake and faced a marvelous forest.

The pancakes proved to be the motivation to get us into the outdoors. And there I found peace. How peaceful was it?

When the 20% chance of showers became 3+ hours of rain, I didn't curse the weather. I sat back and stayed dried and ate a crepe. And after every other booth had started packing up, we moved in that direction.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In a candelabrum are resplendent gleams

... have led us to the point

of entering into ourselves,

that is, into our minds in which the divine image shines.

Now in the third place, as we enter into ourselves,

as if leaving the vestibule and coming into the sanctum, that is, the outer part of the tabernacle,

we should strive to see God through a mirror.

In this mirror the light of truth is shining before our minds

as in a candelabrum,

for in it gleams the resplendent image

of the most blessed Trinity.

St. Bonaventure

So we went into our ourselves and shared

memories of times with friends

and imaginined how hard it is for others,

who have witnessed horror to overcome their memories.

And that was Monday with three friends at Holy Trinity.

I throw something out and catch gleams as

they emerge from the memories of my friends.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

All Creatures of Our God and King

maybe, just maybe... I was given this time to ponder a Franciscan, many birds, and a friend's death.

sometimes when you rise to sing a hymn at a memorial service, everything comes together...

and as our eyes are filled with the sunlight streaming through stained glass and tears, we sing praises.

It was one of John Touchberry's favorites.

Did you hear us? Were you perched on the bell tower?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

of Birds and Bonaventure

Vestiges, Bonaventure says we are surrounded by vestiges. Open your eyes to creation and you will see living signs that God has been there. Contemplate the nature of the creature and you will start your journey to God.

I dig birds, so when I read chapter two of Bonaventure three weeks ago just before I went to church my mind went to...

leaping for joy when I first saw a Pileated Woodpecker... I was in NC with a great bunch of friends, who went to the mountains for spring break.

a flock of Bobolinks that said, "hey look at us, " after not one had shown their face to me since the first spring of birdwatching when I was 13... I was alone at Valley Forge on my 33rd birthday.

a yellow-bellied woodpecker that said. "hey, would you rather enjoy my beauty or have your job cause your head to explode,"... I chose beauty.

The Gold Finches who perch on spires of anise hyssop and say, "thanks, for not having a grass lawn"

and the memories kept coming and coming and coming. And I wanted to share them with my group of friends at Holy Trinity, but we canceled that Monday and we never got to Bonaventure the next Monday, but three days ago... I told some of my stories...

and now in three days I have more

the catbird that made a trip to the garbage cans more interesting.

the friend who I gave a description of a bird as we pulled into her driveway, and 20 seconds later I turned the pages to show her a Rose-Breasted Grossbeak in my bird book.

another friend that said "what" as we stood outside at work then directed his eyes to the words I said, so that he could see a White-breasted Nuthatch on a Silver Maple.

and the robins that attacked a squirrel in the front yard across the street this morning as I walked to my car.

15 years ago I set out to see a hundred birds by the last day of the school year. The day I reached my goal, I got to work for a message to call Mosaic Woman. She told me that my grandmother had died. As I flew home to Pennsylvania, I read that Emily Dickinson once wrote that the dead visit us through birds.

Today I walked through Lansdale with Mosaic Woman, who now after walking through half her life with me, shows me birds. and my eyes are directed to a hawk perched on a church tower above the door where I returned to a journey with God.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

change of heart... pancakes and church camps can do that

The organizer of Summerfest at Men-O-Lan queried us about having our craft at the event. For the past few years we have not ventured into outdoor shows. Payout money and then have to worry about the weather seemed to be the main reason I would give for why we did not do them.

Mosaic Woman was checking out the show and she said it was in support of a youth camp run by local Mennonites and that we would get a free pancake breakfast. So here we are with a tent, a list of shows we hope to do this summer, and lots of hope for good weather.

I ate plenty of mom made pancakes as a child, but I never went to church camp until I became an adult. Mensch Mill fills up with youth from local UCC churches every summer, but in October the adults come out to the Walking With God retreats. I have missed a few during the past 13 years, but have made it to most. Over the years I have heard memories from others on retreat about being at Mensch as children. Seeds are planted at these camps. Never can be sure what will happen in the future, but planting the seeds comes first.

So come early for the pancakes, check out the crafts, and support camp Men-O-Lan on May 22nd where I will be selling my new crosses...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


It has been 11 years since I said to Mosaic Woman that I would not cut my hair till the end of summer... it has been cut twice since then.
A few months ago I announced on Facebook that I planned to get my haircut and buy new socks over winter break... I guess that sometimes I need to write my plans down....

October, 2008:

Saturday night we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of my aunt and uncle, whose house I vacationed at each summer. I remember playing amazing whiffle ball games with my cousin and eating waffles and sausage for dinner one of the nights. His younger sister, grew up to run a beauty salon.
After the meal, she asked me if I ever donated my hair to locks of love... before the calendar page flips to June, I will make my third donation. The appointment has been made.
... who knows, maybe I will buy some socks soon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

the first part... thinking about land and a friend

Reflecting back on Saturday....

I am sitting in a retreat center with several members of my church. I am pondering if I will be a sweaty mess for the celebration I am attending later in the evening, and if I will survive a retreat which is so heavy on group time. But the retreat is a time for us to build relationships, so I relax into the group and hope to stay cool.

I am pondering who has been important in my spiritual journey. I pick up the stone to show the group I am prepared to speak and say... "John Touchberry." A few members ignore the fact that I am holding the stone and say, "His obituary was in the paper today." Now there are bigger things taking over my thoughts. I think of a trip to Bartram's Garden, and a year of weekly conversations, and how on a Christmas morning he began the cleansing of thoughts keeping me from a life with Christ, and about a friend who broke through years of silence to say hello just the other week on facebook, and of a trip to visit him on a mountain top, and I think about his wife, and I think about what an amazing blessing it was to know him....

Given free time I walk down a hill and I am standing beside the Monocacy Creek. My feet and spirit are at home. If I walked a mile south I would be in a highly favored birdwatching spot of my younger days. Turn north and go upstream, the creek becomes two... the east and west branches. There is a hill that divides those branches and that is where my family moved when I was five. In early spring I would race down that 2-3 mile hill on my bike, ride 10-20 miles and suffer my way back up it. By the fall, I would be exloring 60-80 miles on a weekend day. I can only hope that I will ever know a place so well.

John Touchberry loved that mountain in NC and because of that many folk were sad when he retired and left Pennsylvania.

At 2:20 my friends left the retreat center. I sat on a bench and waited for Mosaic Woman. In silence and in the shade, I had time to think some more.

Seven hours later I knew a haircut was going to happen (it has been years since the last)... but that is another story for another day.