Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 Week 9

Chef-son, aka Ice-carver-son, ended a two-day competition, the Nationals (National Ice Carvers Association) and was awarded silver medal and fifth place. Here is one final photo (Courtesy of Ice Alaska) of the Chimney Sweep.


Monday I was visiting a friend in the hospital, picked up the Muncie paper, opened it and on the second page, there was mentor Michael of Team 1720 with the  little robot at the annual scrimmage. Eleven FIRST robotics teams from around Indiana showed up to practice on a playing field before the six-week shipping deadline Tuesday.

As it turns out, they (mentors and students) spent most of the day Monday and through the night fixing and finishing then packing and crating their ball-gathering-and-kicking robot that can operate equally forward or backward and is appropriately named Palindrome.

Tuesday, besides being catch-up-on-sleep day for Mike, it was writing day for me (big assignment due Wednesday), so no 'clean-desk-photo' this week. However, you may remember that last week I asked a question about the poster of Garfield. Only one person responded, Sara! And she had to search the internet for an Argentine beverage. Someone else asked for the answer so here you have it, a free cultural lesson. The beverage is called mate. Technically speaking, mate is the gourd that you drink out of and yerba mate is the special tea that is only grown in that area of the world (Paraguay, Southern Brazil, Northern Argentina). In this photo you can see a variety of the special drinking cups made of various materials: wood, leather, bone, gourd.


Sara won a mate, a bamboo straw, instead of the typical metal bombilla because that is all I have, and a package of yerba.

Wednesday, and most other days, the most watched winter Olympic sport in our home this time was...curling!

We also follow closely the regular webcam updates of the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska. Chef-son's second competition ended Thursday. This was a single-block, two-man, two and half day event.

"Chasing the Wind" (Photo courtesy of Ice Alaska.)

And what is this little creature that scurried about on our deck?

Early this morning, Mike left with several cycling club buddies, for two weeks of intensive biking in Georgia and Florida. All part of training for an upcoming event in the Pyrenees.
After dropping him off, I decided to stop by the DIL's on the way home and visit with my consuegros who are spending the weekend with their daughter.

Sweet couple, don't you think?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Follow-up

The Rich Man and Lazarus

The variety of textures and components cause me to look more closely, reread the passage and ponder what otherwise is a very familiar story that I've read or heard many times.
I look and see two levels and a great divide.
Lazarus, in the lower right, has been carried to the gates (perhaps represented by the bars in the picture) of the rich man. We can infer that he was crippled in some way and depended on others who probably regularly took him to places where he could beg a subsistence. And he must have been quite helpless so as to be covered with sores and unable to push away the wild dogs that came to lick his wounds.
The rich man, in the upper left, has everything, but his countenance does not reflect peace. In contemporary terms we could imagine him wearing the latest designer fashions, eating gourmet food, and living sumptuously.
They are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Our human natural tendency is to show respect to the rich man and have a hard time even looking at the destitute and diseased, let alone reach out and touch.

From God's perspective, the one he knew by name was the lowly one, the one we would despise. The artist portrays that set-apartness, that hallowed position, by giving Lazarus a halo.
It is interesting that this is the only one of all the parables or stories where a man is called by name. 
I love the song He Knows My Name.

Many probing questions come to mind for me personally and for our society as a whole.
I welcome your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Wondering

Art Pilgrimage: Station # 19

How does this art expression add to your understanding of the story?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

2010 Week 8: Where's the food?

While Sara has tried to stay away from food-blogging for ONE whole week, I decided to try to include food ONE whole week. The idea was that I am inspired by the foodies out there and wanted to do better in that area of my life. And even though I have cooked more and washed more dishes in retirement than I had in a long time, I don't have much to show for it this week. Can you find something food related in my photos this week? It is almost like asking Where's Waldo?!

Monday, Small Town Runner announced the haiku contest winners and I was a runner up!


Nothing edible here? That's what the deer were thinking!
Thanks to them I won Burt's Bees hand soap and lip gloss for my haiku.

Pre-dawn visitors
criss crossing fresh fallen snow
watching warily.

"This one got extra points for alliteration. I like how Rita doesn't come out and say who or what the pre-dawn visitors are." Karen's comments.


DIL served tacos and Spanish rice at Monday Meal.
She raved about the grapefruit she'd been devouring since purchasing an 18 lb. bag.

State-of-the-desk report: some new comfort items--a citrus snack, the Argentina poster and history book. 
If you can tell me what Garfield is consuming I will send you a sample (family not eligible for giveaway ;).
For my memoir project I have decided to focus on my years growing up in Argentina.


We are enjoying breakfasts together in our retirement, unheard of before.
During robot-building season, that is sometimes the only meal we have together.
And, we continue to make our way through the Old Testament, one or two chapters a day; always something new and interesting.

I visited my wheel-chair-bound friend and took her her favorite from our famous local restaurant, Ivanhoe's--a pizzaburger.
We set up a folding table, she brought out a little tablecloth and we enjoyed our sandwiches and Moose Tracks sundae with sugar-free frozen yogurt.
Notice we both have our craft items along. I continue to knit socks and she is always crocheting something exquisite.

Only five photos?!
Plenty happening, just didn't take pictures--a ladies night out at the church, we watched Pride and Prejudice (hilarious with subtitles; "birds chirping" was a constant); spoke at another ladies gathering  using some of the Art Pilgrimage photos and comments. A good week.
And Mike's finger is healing. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Follow-up: Who hath ears to hear...

Who Hath Ears to Hear Let Him Hear

Another artistic representation of the parable of the sower. This time the artist chose to use the King James Version. Interestingly, the art itself is more stylized which we tend to consider more modern or contemporary.
The first time we encountered this admonition "he who has ears let him hear" and the parable was back in November, an earlier Art Pilgrimage station.
Both artists chose a similar title and message, to visualize the different circumstances and responses to the Word.
The former is more literal and includes the actual words of Jesus and even scripture words woven into the painting. This one is more symbolic and colorful.
The latter bird is cute compared to the scary one in the previous station. This is probably a stretch never intended by the artist, but it occurred to me that the thieves, who like the birds come and eat up the seed, could be attractive, cute and interesting, all the more deceptive.
Several commented to me that this final panel, depicting the growth that results when we heed the Word, lacked green. Did the artist run out of time or are those many trunks of tall trees and we cannot even see the abundant foliage at the top? I am reminded of statements both in the Old  and New Testaments
“ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
   Nor have entered into the heart of man
   The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

We cannot begin to fathom what God has for us! 

"He who has ears, let him hear."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Wondering

Art Pilgrimage, Station # 18

There was a previous station with the same title and theme, which allows us the additional exercise of comparing the two artists interpretation to notice the differences in emphasis and effectiveness.

So, there you go, a double challenge this week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2010 Week 7: Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl Sunday


Which family pic do you like best?

Monday, the day Mike nearly cut off his finger. No, not because it was causing him to sin, but he did do something stupid, he learned later. He was sawing aluminum and came at it from the wrong direction which pulled his hand in. It was fortunate, a miracle, God's angels protecting or all of the above, that he did not lose part of his left index. He drove himself to the ER (he was working alone, another non-safe aspect) and has been cleaning and redressing it every day since and is NOT happy with the way it was stitched in the beginning.

Tuesday  my weekly state-of-the-desk report is due. Here's an update on surrounding areas:
  • I cleared the pool table, removed the cover and brushed it in time for the arrival of family on Sunday (now covered again and used for sorting); 
  • I moved my collection of children's books to a smaller bookshelf unit plus two boxes to give away; 
  • I rearranged stuff on the shelf next to my desk under the window (trophies, plaques, ribbons from 5K races where I came in near the end but first or second in my age group *smile*). Take a look.


Setting my house in order is an ongoing process, so is the writing project. The assignment due Wednesday was the dateline of events for the book + list of background historic and/or human nature topics, and my research plan. 

The snow and ice kept up all week. Our grands had three or four snow and/or two-hour delay days.

This view from the kitchen window, prompted me to enter the following in my DIL's haiku contest:
Eight inches of snow
icing on picnic table
bury fun mem'ries.

Friday evening I spent with the three younger grandboys so mom and dad could go to a movie. 

Saturday: an enjoyable evening with friends, a good meal and some Winter Olympics.

Here's another sweet picture to end with on Valentine's Day. The daughter found this old photo of us this week, and I rediscovered the kissing bears :)

Some tatters and patches, but still in love! 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday Follow-up (on Saturday)

When He Came To Himself

We read the scripture and the title chosen by the artist and see the collage on cardboard, framed and under glass which unfortunately reflects the surrounding campground.


The focal point of the picture seems to be the upper right hand corner. Nature and the repentant prodigal look in that direction. If I remember correctly, our tour guide art critic said it represented the heart of God.
This story is more commonly known as the parable of the prodigal son, but some commentators say a better title would be parable of the forgiving father, because it is the parable of the Father's heart. In other words, Jesus' main purpose was to describe His Father's love.
The sinner in the picture is adequately represented as finally recognizing his smallness before the Almighty and opening himself up to God's love. I love the choice of posture, it says so much about the sinner who comes to his senses: he recognizes and acknowledges God's greatness; he receives the freedom of sins forgiven; he  surrenders his whole being to serve and follow; and he welcomes the sunshine of God's love.

It is good for us to remember back to those times and circumstances that drove us to our senses and reflect on the Father's love.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

Hard to believe, this is the third snow day!
Our drive is clear, thanks to my hardworking hubby and the beautiful sunshine, but otherwise the snow remains pretty much the same.

Our DIL posted a winter haiku contest. We've been having fun fitting our wintry thoughts and images into words and verses. You could too. Go to Small Town Runner's blog and enter yours.

As I was researching for tomorrow's Art Pilgrimage follow-up comments, I came across a collage by the same artist, Nate Denlinger, entered another earlier year in the Cornerstone Festival art exhibition with the theme The Names of God.

Jehovah Nathe Menuchah: The LORD Who Gives Rest

It's not a winter scene, but I do think of snow days as restful. All mothers out there are saying, "Yah, that's 'cause you don't have any kids at home anymore." That's true. And not even grandkids. In fact, the only way I know it is another snow day is because the grandson didn't come sauntering in around 2:40. Already miss him.
Wherever you are, try to enjoy this winter!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Angie from VA received some sunshine to brighten her snowed-under, flu-bitten (is that a fitting image) family and she is sharing it with me! I am so honored by the award and her kind words.

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blog world.

  Below are the rules for accepting these awards:
  1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
  2. Pass the award on to 12 fellow bloggers.
  3. Link the nominees within your post.
  4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to the person whom you received this award from.
When I read the rules, I hesitated to even accept the award, I don't feel that I can keep numbers 2 - 4. I just don't have that many bloggy friends and two that I would have picked were already awarded.
Let me say that I look at my blog list daily and any new post brightens my day. So consider yourself awarded!
There is also Sara's Project 365 crowd, as I have opportunity throughout the week to visit the photo reviews, each one is a happy glimpse into a loving home and that warms my heart like sunshine. Come to think of it, that group is twice 12 by now!

And, BTW, Angie is having a giveaway the 22nd of this month to celebrate her first blogoversary!

Share the sunshine!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2010 Week 6

Sunday, January 31st, was our 40th anniversary!

Friend Gina succeeded in rocking baby Zion to sleep after Monday Meal.


The desk looked the same, so I turned around and got this picture of the pool table in hopes that I can show you progress next week.

Every Wednesday 5 Minutes for Books has a giveaway. I won this book, intending to give it to one of my former ESL students, but I am reading it first. Can you guess where? I am amazed at how a page or two at a time adds up, or a row or four of knitting become a sock before you know it. Like they say "Inch by inch it's a cinch" or "Poco a poco se va lejos."

Thursday, February 4th, was the daughter's birthday.


Friday she was able to come over and create with clay in Dad's studio. About time, after all she got him started in pottery.

This morning, before daylight, we watched a dozen deer running around and coming very close to the house, eating whatever they could find, like the lower branches of the fir tree. Can you see the tracks of the herd in the fresh snow?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Follow-up

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

This station left me with more questions than answers.

1) Did anyone notice that the Mark 4:30-32 reference did not match the quote?
In fact that passage was used for an earlier station titled Smallness to Significance. (BTW, as I went back and searched, I realized that I never wrote a follow-up to that one.)

2) So, what is the correct reference for the scripture quote?

It is Matthew 17:20 (NASB).
One commenter noted the sea on the right: "I think the stuff in the lower right is the sea, with waves and perhaps a rock.[mountain top, perhaps?] Isn't there one verse that says something about telling the mountain to go throw itself into the sea?" Yes, Matthew 21:21 says that. And, yes, that's what the art representation looked like to me also.
The same commenter noted the likeness of the designs on the mountain to thorns, which would symbolize the pain Jesus went through bearing our mountain of sin. The comparative smallness of the struggling person might be significant as well, reminding me of the statement in Hebrews 12:4 which basically says we have not suffered as much as Christ.
I look at the struggler and ask:
3) When have I/you felt like that, gone through something like that, barely hanging on, no strength left?

Or, as the other commenter pointed out:
4) Is it a relying-on-self, I-can-do-this, "I think I can, I think I can" attitude, instead of saying, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief , "You take over, You do this, I cannot"?

About the technique:
5) What is 'painted metal'?
 My DIL liked the stark quality of the black and white, no color. There again, technique adds meaning.

An interesting note I read in the commentary section provided by Bible Gateway: "'moving mountains' was a typical Jewish teacher's image for doing what was virtually impossible." Going over the several mustard-seed-size-faith passages, I was struck by Jesus repeatedly pointing out the faithlessness of the disciples.
In that culture the disciple or apprentice was expected to learn from the teacher, mentor and be able then to replicate, repeat, do-as-he-did. The commentary goes on "With this illustration Jesus indicates that even were we casting out mountains rather than demons, we would only be scratching the surface of a life of faith."
Then another question:
6) What could we do with faith greater than that of a tiny mustard seed!?
This challenge reminded me of the promise in John 14:12 that we will do greater things!
Can you believe it?  (Oops, that was another question!)

On the lighter side:
There is a short story titled La fe y las montaƱas by Guatemalan satirist, Augusto Monterroso. His stories are so short they are called mini-cuentos. I enjoyed using this one when I taught college Spanish. Here is my rough translation (for those who did not already read the original).
At first, Faith moved mountains only when it was absolutely necessary, thus the landscape remained the same for millennia. But when the Faith began to propagate and people found it amusing to move mountains, these did nothing but move around and it was increasingly difficult to find them where you had left them the night before which of course created more difficulties than the ones it solved.

Good people preferred then to abandon the Faith and now mountains generally remain in their place. When there are falling rocks on the highway and several travelers die, it is because someone, very far away or close by, experienced the slightest hint of faith.

In closing, a song that's been going around in my head and in my humming: 
Faith is just believing what God said He would do.
He will never leave us, His promises are true.
If we but believe Him, His children we become...