Monday, July 28, 2014

Thoughts on my Psalm 139 reflection

Psalm 139 begins with a description of a God, who is very difficult to escape. Tracking our location, movements, thoughts, and words which we are preparing to speak. This ancient text could compare with those who speak out on the tracking of Facebook, Google, credit card companies, and the NSA.

Is God like the NSA, impossible to escape from so that we will get caught if we do wrong? Is God selling our personal info to maintain pearly gates? Is God an overly obsessed lover, who ignores any restraining order we try to place upon him?

Or maybe God wants to have a conversation with us. Ignatius was big on conversations with God and all of creation. Knowing someone greater by intimate time, leads to greater love. God just may be with us at all times so that we can become more intimate. Through prayer, spiritual direction, jazz, art, and flower gardens; I get to know God and God gets to know me.

But Psalm 139 is meaningful for me for the next line which was not part of the daily reading last Sunday.

Verse 13. You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother's womb.

My spiritual director suggested I read psalm 139 as I entered into my first 8 day retreat. It was at a time when I was exploring how a youth filled with visits to a urologist had affected my life. For 8 days God and I wrestled with a rather poorly knit urthrethra. Not what I was expecting when I drove to the Jesuit Center, but it was a long over due conversation.

Verse 14. For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I, and all your works are wonders. You knew me through and through,

OK, so maybe God gave me a poorly knit urinary tract, but I got to be awed by the hands he gave me. On the 4th of July, I sent out this image asking my Facebook friends to be careful while handling fireworks.

15. my being held no secrets from you, when I was being formed in secret, textured in the depths of the earth.

God wants us to share our secrets. I told no one about those doctor visits, which began when I was four, until I was in college. God was there when I finally told my story and has been encouraging me ever since. We are called into a life of intimate relationships fueled by conversations. God would rather not miss one.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jazz Catchers: four glass doodles for Marian McPartland

Glass art inspired by Marian McPartland's jazz by Wayne Stratz

Jazz doodling has become a fun way to use up the smaller scraps of glass I save in my studio. See more of my jazz catchers here and explore the music of Marian McPartland here.

I created these at least a year ago. Ms McPartland was still alive. I also created them to exhibit at a local bakery, which sadly closed. The owner eventually brought them over to our house. I finally got photos and posted them on etsy. So in tribute to the amazing jazz and food which brought them to life. Here they are:

Glass art inspired by Marian McPartland's jazz by Wayne Stratz
Glass art inspired by Marian McPartland's jazz by Wayne Stratz
Glass art inspired by Marian McPartland's jazz by Wayne Stratz


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dorothy Haffner's Aurora at the Corning Museum of Glass ~> 1995 fused and blown glass

Aurora at the Corning Museum of Glass ~> 1995 fused and blown glass


Dorothy Haffner created this with assistance of Lino Tagliapietra in 1995. Earlier today, Margaret chose the same piece to feature on her wordless Wednesday post. She chose the bottom, so I will feature the top.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Going old school in the studio ~> Miles Davis and starflowers

This afternoon I went to the way of my listening to music in my youth. Sure you have to flip the dang thing over... And clear off the top of the stereo to plop the LP onto the record player, but hey I have lots of LPs so what am I to do.


And what am I doing in the studio ~> I am working on my second batch of four new starflower designs.

Here is the first batch.

Four starflowers designed and created by Wayne Stratz



Saturday, July 12, 2014

So what do you do during the day? Days in the life of jazz fans in Rochester

Margaret Almon and myself at the Metropolitan Art Gallery
Margaret Almon and myself at the Metropolitan Art Gallery

Our favorite vacation spot seems to be Rochester NY in June when the XRIJF is happening. This year I made it to seven straight nights of jazz but before I do some celebrating of the jazz blogging, ...

We generally refuse to spend time standing in long lines, but we do stand waiting to get into jazz venues. From time to time we even break out of our introverted selves and talk to the people next to us. I think we are hoping to find another out of towner. It hasn't happen. We have met locals who take the week off so they can stay out late every night listening to jazz. But no others who are on vacation.

"So what do you do during the day?" The locals ask us.

Generally we ~> lounge at our friends house, find an interesting lunch, visit stained glass stores and yarn shops for souvenirs, and go to museums. Margaret has already blogged a bit about this reflective statue on her blog when she celebrated her July Fifth, yes Fifth, Independence Day, so if interested, check it out.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

TBT JAZZ ~> Thelonius Monk 1952 / 1954 Trinkle Tinkle

From the album "Thelonious Monk Trio" (1954)

Thelonious Monk - piano

Gerry Mapp - bass

Max Roach - drums

Recorded in New York City on December 18, 1952



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Creeping Back to a Well Kept Garden

Creeping thyme overhanging white wall
Summer school has arrived and though I enjoyed the three week break, the garden took advantage of the time to run in its own direction. Weeds. Dead blooms. Plants in need of support.

So it is a good thing that I asked for more horticulture time this summer and that the temps have stayed low enough to get some gardening in at the school. But back to back to back horticulture classes following a pre-school day weeding session, had me a bit tired out. Each class brought a set of fresh legs while mine grew less fresh. When it was over I drank some water and walked up the hill to some creeping thyme.

I'm not sure why but of all the blooms encountered the last two days, these small flowers asked the most for my attention. Saint Ignatius would say God was conversing with me when those blooms caught my eye so deeply. The desire to respond to a garden in need of attention is a much greater call that I find difficult to ignore. It gets me to the school early to rid the flower garden of weeds and helps me to keep going as those fresh legs enter into my classroom.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwing It Back Thursday : Mary Lou Williams Trio 1953 Just You, Just Me

Recorded: Paris, France December 2, 1953


Mary Lou Williams - Piano

Buddy Banks - Bass

Gerard Pochonet - Drums



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Celebrating Plant Diversity: Artist's Acanthus ~> Acanthus montanus

Artist's Acanthus Acanthus montanus

The last time I walked about Longwood Gardens with my camera, I tried to be patient, to wait and see what plants would jump out at me. Artist's Acanthus did just that and now I am trying to imagine a slug causing damage to such a fierce looking plant. To learn more about Acanthus montanus, a plant native to Tropical Africa, check out this site.

Artist's Acanthus Acanthus montanus bloom