Going UP, please….

Today is the Feast of the Ascension of Christ.

“Ascension of Christ” by Salvadore Dali

Really.  Doesn’t the entire concept just blow the mind?
Well, it does mine, anyhow.  Now, I have written before about this, and how it kind of always boggles my mind.  Because I am a visual kind of gal, I always get stuck in the imagining of this event, in the unimaginable visuals.  My mind wants to do a whole movie panorama on it, more old Cecil B DeMille flicks, less Spielberg…but I digress.  My point is that I can get all hung up in trying to SEE this, visualize and understand it….which of course totally misses the point.  As usual.
But there are two cool parts to this that I could spend the rest of my life meditating upon, and in fact it would surely do me much good. I won’t, but I should.
The first part is the whole concept that Jesus went to prepare a place for us.   He went to get things ready for us, at HOME.  Home.  Not our current abodes, apartments, houses, condos…but our true home.  And that is with Him, eternally, in heaven (I hope and pray). I mean,  how cool is that?? I don’t know about  you, but I’m  not the greatest hostess on the planet.  I failed Martha Stewart 101.  I have to write post-its to remember to put nice folded towels in the guest bath.  But here, the God of the Universe, of everything, is heading off to prepare a place for us! Now I don’t know what that entails in heaven and all, but even still, he’s already on the details and is prepping with each of us in mind.  Really, how cool is that?
I know I know, this is really talking about bigger picture stuff, but even so, God is in the details too and  you know it.  Ever looked at the marbling in granite?? Or the  marbling in marble? Huh? Stared into a tiger lily? Don’t tell me that God doesn’t pay attention to the tiny details…so I can marvel that Christ left the apostles, ascended even (another spectacular detail),  to go and prepare a place for us, the best place: Home.  Ahhhhh……joy.
The second part of this very cool event, this mind tripping visual, is that this ascension also signified a new and different status for the apostles…which of course trickles right down to us, to me.  He said to them that he would go, but he would send the Holy Spirit and then they were going to be sent too.  Out.  To witness.  To tell the world about this wild amazing truth, this mind blowing love.  That it was real.  He let those apostles SEE him ascend, not just fade away like the Cheshire Cat with his grin the last to go…
Nope, Christ ascended as they watched (and surely, gaped and pointed, nudged and grabbed each other and held out their hands and maybe both laughed a bit and cried a bit too).    But certainly they had to be electrified; how could you not? Surely, this very change from followers of the earthly bodily Jesus to witnesses was facilitated by this ascension.  I mean, literally, they witnessed it.  They witnessed it all: yeah, the ascension, but also Christ himself on earth, his miracles, his passion, his resurrection, his heart, his voice, his smell, his smile.
They knew him, like the world could not.
And thus they were the first, sent out with a bang – a spectacular electric jolt – to bring that excitement to everyone.  Big job, but then again, big cool.  Much to think about with this day….

Ascension of Christ, by Garofalo, 1520

O King of Glory,
Lord of Hosts,
Who didst this day ascend in triumph
above all the heavens!
Leave us not orphans,
but send upon us the Spirit of Truth,
promised by the Father.
The Liturgical Year: Book 9
*disclaimer: some of this post from several years back.  Very swamped w/ family life, but liturgical life is still so cool that I want to mark it, always!

Worth a Look: Interview on retro-modern intersection of culture & art

This is an interview that I saw on the Dominican blog.  Yeah, I visit there often nowadays….

Anyhow, this artist is the one that I really like. I have used an image of his St. Joseph sculpture twice for St. Joseph’s feast day. Because it’s really gorgeous. Interesting to be able to see an interview with him and he’s worth a watch/listen. He’s got some good points and is doing some interesting stuff. Making a new difference perhaps in the world of art and culture for our modern times, in his own retro fashion. Good stuff, and a nice breather for this week. Go, see, enjoy!

Stitched together

See this quilt? Right there?  Well, it’s mine! Yup! And, out of a spirit of decorum I will not whoop, too loudly, so as not to make you all feel bad.

But, I want to say…it’s gorgeous, beautiful and wonderful.  You see, I won this quilt through the silent auction hosted by JC Marie for the Kololo School through the Tesfa Foundation.  I had little  hope of winning, after seeing how beautiful the quilt was…and yet, with the help of a good proxy bidder and friend, I did and now it is already well used in my room.

The artist is an adoptive mom herself, Andrea Fox, and let me say, this quilt is just lovely.  It’s fabrics were carefully selected and designed (by another adoptive mom of a Haitian child), it is colorful and charming, it is beautifully crafted, and the back is soft as butter in sky blue. Even the note she sent with it was made from handmade paper…loveliness abounding.

The quilt is wrapable art and it is just what the best quilts are all about: connections and community.  And that is just why I’m so smitten by it.  This quilt is a soft touchable connection for me and my kids to other families like ours, across the continent and even across the ocean.  We are sort of stitched together, even in this quilt, by our love for our kids and their home country and our love of books and yearning to get access to more books and schools for kids.

Some might scoff and say I make too much of this.  I disagree.  Those connections, those stitches, are so important for us moms, our families, and especially for our kids from afar.  All those stitches sew hearts and minds together in support of things that are bigger than our doddering, pottering or crashing days.  And when my cherished little Ethiopian boy pads into my room, snuffling and sleepy-eyed, I can wrap him up in this quilt and know that he is embraced not only by me, but, in a way, by so many other hearts….connected by stitches of caring for these, our children of the world.

For any brave souls , look for the tiny “comment” below.

>Almost Wordless Wednesday


Andy Warhol, Crosses, Giclee print, 1981-82
Even modern artists, under their oh so clever hip society cap, 
might surprise us and ponder the call of this season.
We are marching toward Jerusalem: Wednesday, Holy Week.

for more Wordless Wednesday, go here.

>Easter Sunday!


Rubens, “The Resurrection of Christ”

Hallelujah, He is Risen!
He is risen, indeed! Hallelujah!
It’s Easter Sunday!!

This is it.
This is the reason I get out of bed in the morning, ultimately.
If it wasn’t for this, I’m not sure I could, so many days.
It would just be too too hard.
But this, this makes it all worth it, more than worth it….
this makes it glorious.
Every day.
I don’t even have the words….

Happy Happy Easter.
Go hop for joy!

>Holy Saturday, Lamentations


Painting by Mantengna, c 1490

Holy Saturday.
We wait.
It is finished.
It is so silent, so sad.
It is a somber quiet day.
I think of his Mom.
And I ache for her.

Painting by Franz von Stuck, 1891

And today is an achy day, all around.
It hurts.
It should.
It is too quiet, too somber.
And yet, of course, not.
And we wait, happily for us, in joyful knowledge and hope, for tomorrow.
But still, today, we wait.

>Holy Thursday


Painting by Tissot

Holy Thursday.
Maundy Thursday.
Last Supper.
Washing Feet.
Beginning of the Passion.
A hard somber night, leading into a hard day.
Jangled, disjointed, stripping the altar, moving the Blessed Sacrament out of the tabernacle.
I always feel like crying at this service, “Don’t take him!” my heart foolishly calls.
And then it is silent.
And we file out, in the sad silent dark from the now empty church.
He is gone.
It’s Holy Thursday…..so it begins.

>On Not Being Able to Paint


study of Leonardo, mmg

It’s a bit of a curse, being a perfectionist control freak.
It is stifling.
It is limiting.
It is stupid.

I used to be, back in the day, almost an artist. I say almost, in that I was never quite tortured enough (though I tried) to be one, I suppose.
And really, never talented enough either. Not driven. Not truly.

And therein lies my problem. Because, if I was a REAL artist, I’d wouldn’t care. I would just paint for the joy and release of it. And sculpt and draw. All those things that ARE such a release and a joy….all those things that when I remind myself that’s it’s ok to take the time to do it, and then DO it….I feel such joy, such pleasure. I feel such a flood of “oh, yeah, I love this, no matter what, this is part of me.”

So, if I get that feeling, that simple pleasure, every time, WHY can’t I just jump in and keep up with it? I can only guess because I am not deep down a true artist. It’s ok, I can live with being a dabbler. The problem lies in the control aspect, the perfectionism. Because I want every piece I start to be, well, perfect. And if I don’t have the time to devote to making it so, or if I am rusty or in a medium where I am less proficient, then I am somehow…..stifled.

And I do nothing.

And I think that is the saddest thing. And when I intellectualize it, I can jump start myself again, because the intellect in me knows that the control freak is an idiot.

And then I realize, this overflows into so many aspects of my life and choices. I gave up running, back in the day, when I knew I would never be anything but laughably slow (and they did) and to run any distance whatsoever would be almost beyond my ability. I do the same thing with gardening, sewing, quilting, some cooking….I often don’t start because I fear that I or it will not be good enough.

It can even overflow into mom-hood. I can choose to not start or to shut off, out of fear of not being ‘good enough” or totally in control of a situation – of a ‘life-painting’, if you will. The intellectual side of me can easily live in fear.

That is what the urge to perfectionism is, the control freak side really is: fear.

But, I did end up running that half marathon. Then I ended up running that marathon. And I was laughable. And it was still awesome. Worth it. Joy, pleasure, amidst the dorkyness and pain. And I didn’t care about that anymore. It was liberating. I gave up the perfectionism there, and it worked.

So I am determining to choose. I choose to not choose fear. {And yeah, that scares me. Ha!}

I am tired of not of being able to paint.

So, I think I am going to carve out a bit of time, even if it is nowhere near the amount I used to spend in my marathon painting sessions, back in the day. And I think I am choosing to paint again…in different new mediums, new canvases.

I’m going to go find my brushes.

>Archangel Gabriel, Ethiopian Icon


The Archangel Gabriel
From an icon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

This is of course, in keeping with the feast of the Annunciation today, had to put this up too, since you don’t have the annunciation without the messenger!

Now I love icons, they are called, “windows into heaven.” I haven’t seen too many icons from Ethiopia (although you can find some more and read about them here), but I did run across these and I am tickled to find Ethiopian versions. It’s especially nice to find an Archangel Gabriel who is not only depicted w/ flowing blond hair… We have a particular fondness for Gabriel, the messenger, and we hope he is watching over our boy in Ethiopia even now.