Monday, April 30, 2012

Mystical Mondays: On the Road to Compassion

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

15 years or so ago I took a Myers Briggs test and scored low on most things.  I guess I tended to be on the fence in defining myself at the edges where I would have earned points.  My lowest score was in compassion, which if I recall correctly was a "zero." 

I was on the verge of entering the world of the mystics, who drew out maps on which my life has unfolded.  I think for the better...

Ask Anything

"Ask Anything,"

My Lord said to me.

And my mind and heart thought deeply
for a second,

then replied with just one word,


God's arms then opened up and I entered myself.
I entered Myself when I entered 

And having learned compassion I
allowed my soul

to stay.

Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Crosses by Mosaic Woman

Mother of Pearl Cross on Olive Wood by Margaret Almon

Cosmos Cross in Green by Margaret Almon

Cosmos Cross in Gold by Margaret Almon


Monday, April 23, 2012

Mystical Mondays: a hope for true joy

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

700 years or so ago, Meister Eckhart wondered about something.  So the question I have is this...   if worship does not bring us joy, are we at the right place?  

An Image That Makes Them Sad

How long will grown men and women in this world
keep drawing in their coloring books
an image of God that
makes them

Meister Eckhart

Sunday, April 22, 2012

my worth as I see it, a reflection from the Silence

Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA
photo by Wayne Stratz

As the time with my spiritual director began I was telling her about this and that and the other thing, which was an experience we had at a show.  We had a great day of sales on Saturday followed by a Sunday when we had zero sales.  

So how is this connected to God.  maybe like this... Is my talent as an artist any less on a day we have no sales as compared to a day of amazing sales?  Am I not the same artist ...

Does God's love lessen on days that I ignore God, forget to be grateful to a stranger who does a good deed, fail to see opportunities to help others, lack compassion for a student in need of kindness.  Am I not the same child of God ... 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mystical Monday--- as I pack for Silence

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

As I reviewed the last seven love poems, this one leapt out at me.  It expands what I see my role in a universe that unfolds.  If this is true, being aware of it unfolding is not the only key, but I also have a role in helping it to unfold.

and with that thought I prepare for a bit of silence myself and leave you with this,

may it help the unfolding that is happening inside our hearts.

Expands His Being

All beings
are words of God,
His music, His

Sacred books we are, for the infinite camps
in our

Every act reveals God and expands His being.
I know that may be hard
to comprehend.

All creatures are doing their best
to help God in His birth
of Himself.

Enough talk for the night.
He is laboring in me;

I need to be silent
for a while,

worlds are forming
in my heart.

Meister Eckhart

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Spiritual Practice of Drawing Cards

Stratozpheric Cards from Lent by Wayne Stratz 

What you see above are the final six cards I drew by way of my Lenten practice of drawing cards for staff members at my school.  In all 35 people were chosen by...  Count down 21 names, draw a card, count down 21 names draw a card...

Some of the people I treasure the most at work got a card, some who I was sad to say, "Who is that?" got a card.  But that was part of the practice, to let the number 21 guide me, not my opinion on who should get a card.

and I was reminded of the positive energy that flows back to me when I take the time draw a card...

Thanks for the lovely drawing it was a great way to start the day

Thanks for  the lovely card! It was such a nice treat to see this morning.  I had the day off on Friday, so it brightened my Monday! I will find a nice location to display it in my office

Thank you so much for the drawing!!!  It was a beautiful suprise to find in my mail box this morning!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for the BEAUTIFUL flower painting - I love it and have already bought a frame for it.  You are very talented and I appreciate you sharing your talent with me! Have a great day.

Thanks so much for the art work.  I don’t know what made you think of me, but your “symbol of hope and peace” couldn’t have come at a better time.
God bless,

Thanks for the card!  The warm colors are very pleasant and soothing to look at.
You brightened my day.

I just wanted to thank you for brightening up my day!! You are so thoughtful and I love it!! I hope you have a good day!! J 

and finally...

Just got your drawing.  That’s cool, thanks

I think I may continue on.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mystical Mondays, say hello to Meister Eckhart

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

Who has looked into your eyes this day?

                     ... Whose ears have you touched?

                                    ... Sit back and imagine God freeing you after a day of hard work and
                                        many worries with love that

                                                                makes you laugh.

Love Does That

All day long a little burro labors, sometimes
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only

And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labor.

Once in a while a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a pear, but more
than that,

he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears

and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,

because love does

Love frees.

Meister Eckhart

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Shipping animals

Red-winged blackbirds
Wayne Stratz
Last night on facebook I passed along something I had learned earlier in the day... that it is cheaper to ship a hippo to California than a lizard to Colorado.  I would like to think it has something about the butterfly and the eagle feather that travelled side-by-side with the hippo, but it is more likely that the lizard was weighted down by its concrete base as compared to the larger but lighter wedi board where the hippo resides.

But it made me think of other animals I have sent here and there, including the flock of red-winged blackbirds that went to Maryland.  A special commission that came about when my client and her sisters went for a hike to celebrate good health news and were greeted by the beauty of the birds.

What comes to mind is that all these animals came from the heart of the client who commissioned them.

The Lizard:
Snowcatcher's Collared Lizard
by Wayne Stratz
This cantankerous critter demanded to be delivered in our own vehicle:
Di's Red-tailed Hawk
Wayne Stratz
Mickie's Siamese cat that went to Alabama:
Siamese Cat
Wayne Stratz
The infamous Hippo Project:  (see the whole thing and the close-up of the butterfly):
The Hippo
Wayne Stratz
commission your totem critter

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Hippo Project

The Hippo Project:
A collaboration by
Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz

 Checking my e-mail one day at lunch I found a note from Margaret.

"Get your representational skills set to go..."  That night we wondered if we were being pranked.  Surely people send artists prank e-mails.  This was no typical house number project~ two four digit numbers plus a butterfly, add a feather, and throw in a hippo.  A hippo, who, what, why?

so we said: OK.  and then we said: How big?  and then we said: Give us some money and we will give you a design and an estimate.

They said 18 by 24,  OK, OK, OK...  and finally "It's beautiful!"

Butterfly design by Wayne Stratz

Blue background design by Wayne Stratz
Golden Eagle Feather by Margaret Almon

Hippo design by Wayne Stratz

Sunday, April 1, 2012

searching for 21 words...

thanks to all 20+ of you who responded we have plenty of ideas for future mosaics, and if you want to know what is coming next, well we have decided on "bloom."  Tis the Season!

Wordle: we asked for words to create in mosaic click on it to see it enlarged