Saturday, September 29, 2012

Flower Petal Art

Flower art my Wayne Stratz

Every year I am amazed at the plant art that is displayed at the Philadelphia flower show and while we have explored pressing flowers, I have never handed my students

  • a pile of cut flowers
  • Elmer's glue
  • a piece of cardstock

as any good teacher would do, I was obligated to demonstrate how to do it.  above was my third and final piece of the week.  The students amazed me and the majority dove right into the task and did it their way.

Here is my first piece...

Flower art my Wayne Stratz
and here is my second piece... 

Flower art my Wayne Stratz

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mystical Mondays ~ Mark 8:35-37

For those who want to save their life will lose it, 
and those who lose their life for my sake, 
and for the sake of the gospel, 
will save it.

For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?

Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?


I need to step back and forget about control and imagine healing.  This is my hope for myself as I relate with another.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Not all about the food: A walking Tour of Lansdale featured Wilson's Hardware

Wilson's Hardware ~ brand new sign
Yesterday I gave two walking tours of Lansdale, one planned the other when a dinner guest got restless so the men folk took a walk down Main Street while the women folk moved from the dining room to the living room.  The tours, which were 11 hours apart, were heavy on pointing out where we enjoy eating, but I did point out Wilson's Hardware Store.

One day I walked into Wilson's knowing the problem but not the solution.  I left with a turkey baster.  The problem of how to remove excess water from the glass grinder (with clogged drainage tube) solved and that is a wonderful thing.

scrap containers next to grinder

And then there was the problem of attaching wings to a commissioned angel, I knew what I needed and they had it...

Thanks for being part of our downtown...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Bread of Life Banner

The Bread of life at Holy Trinity

Jesus said, 
"I am the bread of life; 
whoever comes to me shall not hunger, 
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." 
 John 6:35

I had had no idea that the Holy Eucharist would feed my hunger.  When I walk towards the meal, when I take the bread and drink the wine, when I ask to be renewed and cleansed... this is when my doubts fade to the side and my faith grows stronger.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Joyce Rupp... Be the imperfect cup that is well loved and used

“if I wait to be
before I love myself
I will always be
and ungrateful

if I wait until
all the flaws, chips,
and cracks disappear
I will be the cup
that stands on the shelf
and is never used”

― Joyce Rupp

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Science Friday : why just Fridays and why not Friday

Jeff Potter on the air with Ira Flatow of NPR's Science Friday
Photo by Jeff Potter 

Science Fridays on NPR airs during my 8th period class, which means I almost never hear it.  But a recent desire to boost my Twitter science list led to finding them on twitter, which led me to their website.  So now I can listen to a story here and there and quit bemoaning the fact that I miss it.

And the videos are great.  So I made my own science Friday moment this week.

I showed how plants need to be filmed to be able to watch them behave and went into a discussion tendrils...

and then it was to show them how the opposite had to be done to study bats...
I showed them a video that showed them just how amazing an octopus can be but also a close up of chromatophores.

and then to show the creativity of a man with a house boat... the first floating outhouse with a natural sewage treatment center...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

a sampling of recent commissions

Portion of a Dr Ed Mandala

commission by way of the Lansdale Farmers Market

Commission by way of the PA Guild show in Delaware

for healing

to Canada!

by way of Margaret's networking friend who saw one hanging on
our living room wall

three Dr Ed Mandalas
by way of our show at Virago 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Inside the Wernersville Tree

Above is the first photo from within the tree, which I showed as I approached it on a previous post.  The trip to this tree and then inside the tree is the only time I used my camera while on the silent retreat:

on a branch at eye level

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reflections from Silence ~ Psalm 21, 42, 63 and Flannery O'Connor

Light and Darkness at the Jesuit Center

In my last reflection I mentioned going to the library.  Buechner was mostly read and in the midst of the essays was an essay about Flanner O'Connor.  I could have used the classic card catalogue by myself but the rare sighting of the librarian and the aloe plant on her desk inspired me to be guided to a book.   OK I was desperate for a brief conversation.  And a few moments later I was headed back to my room with her collected stories.

My friend Michelle had thought playing with psalms was the way to go, so I read a psalm a day while on retreat.  21, 42, then 63 led the way.  In each case we start with an author who is praising his Lord, but at the end the author was overwhelmed by hatred and asked God to smash some enemies.

While in the O'Connor stories I was randomly chosing (by titles, not by counting by 21's), I kept being introduced to these main characters who seemed likable, especially in their own mind.  But they all seemed done in by hatred.  The hate was directed in many a direction but it emerged from the otherwise nice characters.

Today a friend needed a favor.  As we drove together I began to rant about something that had emerged at work that day.  I apologized for ranting.  Later I realized I had not followed rule 12 of 21 very well.  So now I work on that forgiveness thing.

My local library had the stories and tonight I met another one of those characters done in by hatred.

Here is to celebrating God minus the rants.

Monday, September 3, 2012


My classroom wall 2007
  1. Leaves of three. Leave them be.
  2. Spread joy. Be exuberant.
  3. Attempt the task which you fear.
  4. Help other to discover success.
  5. Emerge into the person you desire to be.
  6. Work with tools. Play with toys
  7. Be filled with hope.
  8. When plans get changed, see where the new plan takes you.
  9. You can disagree and be pleasant at the same time.
  10. Attempt to answer big and small questions.
  11. Be Mindful.  The present moment is a fine place. 
  12. Forgive your teacher, your classmates, and yourself. Accept the imperfections we all have with grace and kindness.
  13. Accept your fate and work with your assigned team.
  14. Question accepted truths. It is the way science improves.
  15. Be creative with flowers, thoughts, and colored pencils.
  16. Live a long life. Avoid eating house plants and leaves of nightshades for that matter.
  17. Wonder why and how.
  18. If you have tried and failed , then try again or ask for help.
  19. Be aware of how your emotions are affecting how you behave.  
  20. Understand this, that Mr Stratz enjoys being a teacher. Your behavior controls how much he can teach. 
  21. And finally... Enjoy the jazz.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reflections from Silence: Evenings of Solitude; Days of Brief Conversations

empty hallway at the Jesuit Center

As I read Buechner those first 30 hours, I was more alone than normal.  Time at The Jesuit Center is not alone time, even if it is silent.  There is daily mass, daily meals, and people staying in rooms along the wing of the building you have been placed.  I didn't even have my hour long discussions with a spiritual director during this retreat.

But the Jesuit Center was emerging from a quiet time itself and no retreats were happening when I arrived.  The dining hall was nearly empty that first evening, but I did have a brief conversation with a young woman who had just gained employment there.  Nothing like an exuberant person to make one's day.  She got a hand drawn card.

For the first three nights I was alone on my wing.  Until the large retreat arrived, my main company was a cleaning lady.  I drew her a bookmark.  The next day we had a brief conversation about irises, since she saw some in my doodle.  I could see why and I was glad to remind her of flowers of her homeland. This was a woman I have seen working at the Center for at least ten years and in a conversation the next day I found out she was from Romania.  I left her a card sitting on the desk in my room when I left.

I made a few trips to the library and I actually met the librarian, who happened to have a medium sized aloe plant flat upon her desk.  Clearly a sign from God to have a brief conversation after which she guided me to the book I desired.  A card was slipped into her office.

maybe this post should have had cards in the title, but it was those brief conversations that filled in for the missing my usual time with a spiritual director.  My inner Iggy was just fine with being silent 99% of my visit.