Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Scavenger Hunt- THE WINNER IS....

Roberta!

Cheers, applause, laughter, confetti, balloons falling from the ceiling, champagne, sparkling cider, Kool and the Gang singing "Celebrate good times, C'mon!"

Roberta, you just won yourself a lovely hand-made journal, care of SoulPerBlog! If you be so kind as to E-mail me your mailing address, I'll get it shipped to you, lickety split.

Congratulations!

And thanks to the other TWO of you that played. I appreciate your gaming spirit. And your creativity. And reading your thoughts about Refrigerator Art. You're my kind of women.
Rhonda and I are talking about our next SoulPerBlog giveaway, so please keep coming back to see what we're up to.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Scavenger Hunt

A few weeks ago I challenged myself to recycle and use the fabric in my languishing fabric storage bin. Like a silk purse made from a sow's ear, my journal cover has a few interesting quirks. Let me tell you about them...

- It's 100% hand-sewn (because I made it entirely in the car on a 9 hour trip to Tennessee!)
- The playing card is from an Asian deck Rhonda gave me for my birthday. Very cool.
- I made the cover from a canvas drop cloth and a piece of metallic painted fabric I created in a surface design class back in March. I'd been saving it for just the right project...
- Incorporated into the design are a part of my daughter's faux suede belt and a "retired" Clorox Color Catcher. Also, spare trimmings from an art quilt my mother made my 4 year old niece and a pink button that my six-year-old design consultant insisted was the only button good enough to grace this journal. "And right there too, Mommy." (ONLY right there!)
- Included with the cover are THREE spiral journals to get you started on your way to creatively converse with God.

Want it?
All you have to do is a little scavenging:

1) Go to the the
SoulPerSuit website and click on "Articles." Read Rhonda Oglesby's article entitled, "Refrigerator Art," and give your answer to the following question here in the
SoulPerBlog comments section:

What is the name of the child's favorite stuffed animal?

Badabing! If you can answer that question, you've got yourself one entry in the SoulPerSuit Drawing Deck!


2) Want to get your name in the SPS Drawing Deck another time? Write your thoughts about "Refrigerator Art". Because I really want to know what you think of the idea, I'll give you a second entry in the SPS Drawing Deck, just for talking about it with me.

3) Want another chance at it? Tell a friend to stop by and play the scavenger hunt. Have them mention your name, and you get a THIRD entry in the SPS Drawing Deck!

4) My non-partial Deck Drawer/design consultant (of six years old) will help me by drawing the winning name on
Wednesday, Dec. 13th. I'll announce the results here on SoulPerBlog, contact the winner, you'll give me your mailing address, and this lovely hand-stitched journal set will arrive at your doorstep just in time for Christmas! (And hey, if you live locally, I might even hand-deliver your prize over a piping hot cafe mocha from a locally-owned, independent coffee house. Prizes, coffee, conversation... it's gettin' better and better!)

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, the line forms to the right!

* Let me mention that SoulPerSuit is getting ready to kick-off a new session after the holidays. We'll be taking a 6-week look at the Sermon on the Mount, using Sandra Glahn's, Mocha on the Mount. You can purchase the studies at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble. This journal I've made is the perfect size for a SoulPerSuit Bible study.

** Let me also say that this scavenger hunt drawing is a v e r y thinly veiled invitation for those of you who have never done an on-line SPS group to join in! If you are interested in the next group or have questions about SPS, please please do let us know. ("Us" being Rhonda and me.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Scarey First Date

In honor of the Halloween season I thought I would tell the story of the first date My Geek and I went on (even though it occured in April).

When My Geek and I met, we talked on the phone a lot and did things with our single friends. I thought that he was interested in me but, if so, he was taking his sweet time asking me out.

One day while talking on the phone we discovered we both loved Stephen King. I was really excited about having this in common until he mentioned that Pet Semetary was out in theaters. I felt a chill go up my spine. "Oh, great. He's going to ask me out now, I just know it."

Sure enough, he did. He had finally asked me out on the one date I didn't want to go on.

You see, what My Geek didn't know is that I can't stand horror movies. Not that I dislike them but that I can't tolerate them. I'm easily spooked and tend to have nightmares for days after seeing even the tamest ones. It may seem like a contradiction to be able to read Stephen King but not be able to watch it. The only way I can explain it is that I'm very visual. When I read a book, even with the author's graphic descriptions, the imagery is left up to my own imagination. In a movie, I am subject to someone else's imagination which usually is more graphic and horrifying than mine. They suggest things I never thought of before.

But I had to risk going. Since he had finally asked, I didn't want to say no. I had read Pet Semetary. I knew absolutely everything that was going to happen. I could handle it, right?

My memory of that date starts after the movie had started. Since it was our first date, I didn't feel comfortable hiding my head in his shoulder so I hid behind my hand. It seemed worse that I knew what was going to happen next. I got more worked up as each scene passed. ("oh no, this is where the biker gets killed." then "Oh no, this is where the biker comes back.")

The scene that finally got to me was the first time they showed Rachel's sister, Zelda, who had spinal meningitis. If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about. I decided I had gotten in over my head and had to bail. I leaned over and whispered, "I've got to go."

"O.k." he said. He didn't move. I didn't understand his reaction. (Later he said he thought I needed to step out to the bathroom.)

"No, I have to leave. I can't watch this." Recognition crossed his face.

I figured that I had pretty much ended this relationship before it had a chance to get started. The guy spent money on a movie he didn't even get to finish. (He went back later with a friend to see it.) He was kind enough to take me for ice cream where we sat in the grassy median and watched the traffic at the Skillman/Audelia/635 intersection. Little did I know that in almost exactly two years we would be living as newlyweds around the corner from that very spot.

Other horror movies I never finished watching:
  • Salem's Lot

  • The Exorcist

  • The Shining

  • Halloween

  • Scream

  • Vampires (w/James Wood)

  • Nightmare on Elm Street

NOTE: In doing research on Pet Semetary, I read a few reviews that referenced the Zelda scene as one of the scariest they had ever seen. I feel vindicated.

Friday, October 27, 2006

6-Word Story

My artistic leanings are not in the area of writing but I know that most of the people who read here are writers. I found the article, Very Short Stories, in this month's issue of WIRED magazine really fun. It starts: "We'll be brief: Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") and is said to have called it his best work."

The imagery and emotion projected from just those six words is amazing. WIRED went on the ask several sci-fi, fantasy and horror writers to contribute six-word stories. You can find their contributions here.

On Erin's blog she had you write a poem based on the letters in your comment's Word Verification code (I'm still working on mine). How about posting a six-word story here? Here's some of mine:

STEP ONE: Stab syringe into heart.

Scan negative. No life forms. Next.

"Beautiful."
"Really? How can you tell?"

"On the outside..."
"You! Shu'up!"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Astrophotography

A Perfect Storm of Turbulent Gases in the Omega/Swan Nebula (M17)-NASARecently I saw the most amazing photo of the Atlantis Space Shuttle and the International Space Station silhouetted against the enormous golden sphere of the sun. The talented photographer who took that photo from the surface of the earth was Thierry Legault who lives in France. (More.)

Check out the great photo gallery on his web site. I wonder if this is what God's perspective is like on a daily basis? What do these images tell you about the Creator?

(Please be respective of Mr. Legault's work. It is copyrighted so you may not use his photos in your publications or the web without his permission. NASA has thousands of photo and videos on their website that are copyright free!)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Being Obedient the First Time

It's wonderful how My Geek makes me feel safe. I'm a tough broad and can handle a lot (I think I can handle everything), but the biggest relief in my life has been to discover that I don't have to. Despite my tendency to control or force things in my life, he has insisted on wrestling from my hands the role of protecting our family. Once I began to release, I realized how tired and relieved I was.

Given the dangerous reality of our world today, we often talk about how to handle emergency situations. Many times while watching dangerous or threatening scenes in shows like "24", "Jericho" or "Lost", I'll ask him, "What should she have done?" or "What should I do if that happens to me?". One thing that I struggle with is doing what I'm told. I always think that I have a better way. My Geek is trying to get me to listen to him. "If I ask you to do something, please do it." I trust him implicitly but I'm still learning to let go. (I'm not about to admit I'm stubborn. He reads this blog.)

To my immense disappointment, I failed at a simple task the other day.

"Would you please go out to our providers web site and logon to my e-mail account."

Sounds simple doesn't it? But I didn't do what he said. Within 10 seconds I was already reasoning.

"I don't have to go out on to the web site. I can just bring up his mail account setup directly on my computer."

The second I clicked I knew why I had messed up but it was too late.

The technical aspects of this aren't important. What is important is that I realized I wasn't ready. I knew that if I had been Kate on "Lost" and Jack asked me to not follow him into the jungle, I would be just as stupid as she was and follow. (By the way, I'm the one yelling at the TV the loudest, "She's so stupid. Why doesn't she listen to him?")

This is the exact same problem I have with obeying God. He asks and I reason. "There is a way which seems right to a man…"(Prov 16:25). Most of this is connected with pride but some of it is personality. Either way, I need to renew my mind to learn to be obedient the first time.

(Please don't stretch this beyond what it is. My Geek is not training me to be a doormat and he's not a chauvinist. If you knew us you would know how ridiculous that is. He values and respects my contributions and intelligence. We've just agreed, in an emergency situation, someone has to be in charge and it is he.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

"I'm not a dirty player."

This weekend Tennessee Titan defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was ejected early in the third quarter after he kicked Dallas Cowboy center Andre Gurode in the face (see story).

I find Haynesworth's comment about the situation highly amusing and very familiar.

"I apologize to Andre," Haynesworth said. "What I did was disgusting. It's something that should never happen. I mean, I'm not a dirty player. I don't play dirty. I have respect for the game. What I feel like is I disgraced the game, disgraced my team and disgraced my last name."

I hate to tell Mr. Haynesworth, but he is a dirty player. He may not have been before this incident. We'll never know. The thing is, he was capable of it and he finally let himself follow through.

When I was growing up there were the "bad girls". I was raised to believe these included girls who smoked, drank and had sex outside of marriage (a very legalistic viewpoint). No matter what I did, I convinced myself that I was not one of "them". But I regularly walked the line on these issues and sometimes plunged over it! You didn't needed instant reply to see the real truth in the lie I was telling myself but as long as I was the line judge, I could call it any way I wanted.

Then one day, like Haynesworth, it was evident for all to see. I wasn't a "good girl"; I was "the other woman". It's a horrible moment: to finally look into the mirror and call yourself what you are. But it's also the beginning, if you'll let it be. I knew my life had hit rock bottom and it was time to let God take over as line judge… and coach (only He can do both). I would give anything not to have that moment in my life but it's a reminder of what I'm capable of and how long and easily I can lie to myself.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Meet My Muse

I was inspired by the post, My True Muse, on Jason Glidewell's blog. After finding his true muse, he challenged his wife to do the same by picturing herself "in the midst of a painting splurge, when it's just going perfect." Closing her eyes, her imagination filled in an image of her muse.

I'd never thought about my muse before. What does the inspiration that comes from inside of me look like? I felt challenged to do this because I have a very familiar pack of critics that I invite. (Just to name a couple: Rob - 6'6", lanky, 60 years old, doesn't listen to what I have to say, doesn't take me seriously because I'm a woman. Al - short, tubby, never really looks at my work and always has the same thing to say, with a big politician smile, "Isn't that cute.")

I need to have someone to invite to the party when I need someone on my side - someone tough and daring who can fight these jerks.

Meet Amy Jett.

(I wrote this sort of stream-of-consciousness, without correcting or changing. Some of it doesn't make sense but I'm just getting to know her.)


My muse is Amy Jett, a 47 year-old rock 'n' roll chic who has a fascination with the sirens in old black and white movies.

She is extremely passionate and her main job is to encourage me to go for it. She makes it completely safe to experiment and try anything. She’s all about producing – making as many works of art as possible without stopping for hours at a time. To get me out of my comfort zone she'll ask me to do crazy things like paint in the nude or dress up like Blonde and make a music video.

She wears an original Aerosmith concert t-shirt. Her record collection is a museum of rock 'n' roll classics. She claims to have been to over 2000 concerts and at one time lived in a van with Iggy Pop.

She's 5'11" and flat chested. She's a redhead but has been known to dye it black for the right concert.

She drives a 1969 Ford Mustang.

She eats weird stuff like pizza without cheese or egg white omelets with nothing on them. The only vegetables she eats are mushrooms (fried or on a pizza), potatoes (French fried – she calls it manna), and peanut butter. She doesn’t drink soda – only water and coffee (which she calls the elixir of the gods).

She loves tequila, mostly after lunch. She loves cigars, mostly after dessert. When she's drunk you think she's sober and when she's sober you think she's drunk.

She loves poetry and writes it constantly. She has some of her more foundational verses inked on her back below a tat between her shoulder blades that says "HIS" in gothic print. Her muse is the guy in Klimt's painting, The Kiss. She admires the poetry of Prince, Mark Knopfler, and Norah Jones.

She sings all the time and plays the guitar and piano.

No one is sure where she lives because she never seems to go there. When she's not around, you think that she's gone home to sleep, shower and/or change clothes and then you find out she's at someone else's house jamming or reading poetry at The Garage.


Well, there she is. She makes me feel strong and couragous. I want to get use to having her around.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nobody Asked Me, But...

I have turned this story over in my elementary-school mind since I was, well, in elementary school.

Do you have a few choice words in the English language that you consistently find hard to spell correctly? Either through speedy-fingers-at-the-keyboard or just lack of mind power, I have a few.
Occassion, ocasion, occasion, occasion- is that 2 "c"s and 2 "s"s?
Vacuum- I always missed that in spelling bees!
Anything requiring the "i before e, except after c" rule. Because it's not always true, dang it!
And here's another, (which is what this post is really about)

Brain.

Can't tell you how many times I've written that simple word, attempting to reference the cerebrum, cerebellum and cerebral cortex, only to look at it and see I've actually written the word, "Brian." Who the heck is Brian?!

Stick with me here.

Then I began to think, wouldn't that be funny if it really is Brian instead of brain? What if we all have a little guy inside our heads, directing our movements and thoughts like a Stormtrooper operating an Imperial Walker on the planet Hoth. And it's all just a spelling mistake. What if it really is Brian up in there, and here this fool brain has been getting the credit all this time?

Brian has got to be pretty ticked. And I'm positive he's got some kind of lawsuit pending against the whole of mankind. Libel, slander, misrepresentation, something like that. I just hope he continues to steer my lump of flesh around for a few more years. (Sorry, Dude. How much back pay do I owe ya?)

That's the book I'd write, if ever any publisher could get over wetting their pants with the inanity of it all.


My sequel would be a coffee table book full of photographs of the nursery set-up for all embryos in-utero. I really did used to think we all had play pens, rocking chairs, teething toys and braided rugs on the floor in our warm womb-y homes. Just on a smaller scale.

This post is in response to Michelle's, "What I'd Write if I Could Write a Novel."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

There's Still Time to do Something Big

It seems I have accidently run across a theme in Doing Something Big: the desire, the disguise and, this week, the discipline of it.

Paul C├ęzanne, artist, Chateau Noir, age 64There's nothing wrong with the desire to be a part of something significant. We need to have a clear head, thoug, about what is significant: making a million dollars as a basketball star or being the best friend we can possibly be.

Significance is overlooked because it is disguised as "average". Everyone is gifted and everyone is unique. Being average simply means maintaining balance which leads to happiness. How quickly our society creates and disposes of their number ones.

Alfred Hitchcock, filmmaker, Vertigo, age 59This week I read about David Galenson's discovery of two creative disciplines. His research came about because of his nagging desire to do something big:

In graduate school, he watched brash colleagues write dissertaions that earned them quick acclaim and instant tenure, while he sat in the library meticulouly tabulating 17th- and 18th-century indentured-servitude records. He eventually found a spot on the University of Chicago's Nobelist-studded economics faculty, but not as a big-name theorist. He was a colonial economic historian - a utility infielder on a team of Hall of Famers.

curvesBeing an art economist, his initial research plotted the relationship between an artist's age (X) and the value of his or her paintings (Y). He discovered two distinct patterns: those who peaked early and those who peaked late. He calls these two groups the conceptualists and the experimentalists.

Conceptualists make bold, dramatic leaps in their disciplines with their breakthroughs coming at an early age. They know with certainty what they're trying to create and when they've created it. Picasso created his revolutionary Les Demoiselles d'Avignon when he was 26.

Frank Lloyd Wright, architect, Fallingwater, age 70The Experimentalists work by trial and error and make their breakthroughs later. They never really know when their work is finished. They do not preconceive but figure it out as they go. Cézanne is a good example. His most valuable works are the ones he painted the year he died.

Ludwig van Beethovan, composer, Symphony No. 9, age 54I like to think of myself in the last group. I've been feeling like my time has passed to be a part of something big. But I guess what I said in my original post may be true. I've only just begun. The idea is to not give up and just keep at it.

(Check out Galenson books on the subject. They sound really interesting: Painting Outside the Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern Art and Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artisitc Creativity.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Book Tag

I got tagged by my friend Erin in a blog-based chain survey. Here are the obligatory questions and my answers.

1. One book that changed your life: The Stand was my teenage introduction into adult literature. From Nancy Drew to Stephen King. BAM!

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The sci-fi classic Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Card is a captivating writer who's great with paiting a picture.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Histories by Herodotus because the only way I'll ever get around to reading this book is if I'm on a desert island.

4. One book that made you laugh: The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, who has a keen grasp on the world of 7 year old boys. Heck, he probably is a 7 year old boy.

5. One book that made you cry: Wild At Heart by John Eldredge because it allowed me to understand My Geek on a deeper level.

6. One book that you wish had been written: No One Likes You When You're a Bitch. (That's a great title! I should use that.)

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Having It All by Helen Gurley Brown. This is one of three books that taught me how to be a bitch in the eighties.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Cosmic Banditos by A. C. Weisbecker. I picked this up because it's been made into a movie starring John Cusack, one of my favorite actors.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Anytime I talk to people about postmoderism or Rob Bell's book, Velvet Elvis, they say, "Have you read Blue Like Jazz?"

10. Now tag five people: This may die with me. I only know of only five people who read my blog (*blush*) and they've all been tagged except for My Geek. If you are like me and read a lot of blogs but rarely post, please take this opportunity to post a comment here and say "Hello."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Love Liza * * * *

Check out my review this week for Love Liza. Another stunning performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman with a screenplay written by his brother, Gordy.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

No One is Average. Well, Bob is.

The Average American by Kevin O'Keefe
Kevin O'Keefe is the author of The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen. I heard him in a radio interview several weeks back. I wish I could remember which show.

Through extensive research that took him on a tour all across the US, O'Keefe determined 140 qualifications that define the Average American. Here are just a few:

  • eats peanut butter at least once a week
  • prefers smooth peanut butter over crunchy
  • can name all three stooges
  • cannot name all three branches of government
  • takes a shower for 10.4 minutes
  • never sings in the shower
  • lives within 3 miles of a McDonalds
  • lives within 20 miles of Wal-mart
  • lives within 2 miles of a public park
  • is better off financially than their parents
  • does not make more than $75,000 a year
  • believes in God and the literal truth of the Bible
  • holds some views that the church deems sacrilegious
  • attends church at least once a month
  • has fired a gun at least once in their life
  • spends 95% of time indoors
  • owns an electric coffeemaker
  • thinks abortion is morally wrong
  • supports the right of an individual to have an abortion
  • owns at least one pet
  • drives a car at least 8 years old without vaniety plates
  • would rather spend one week in jail than be president
  • will, on occasion, pee in the shower

Even though he had statistically determined the parameters that defined "average", he was never quite sure whether any one person really existed that fit every one of them. He finally came up with one candidate, Bob Burns, but he had to interview him to be sure. He left Mr. Burns a message explaining his research but Mr. Burns did not respond. O'Keefe's hopes heightened. (The average American does not want to be famous.) After making a personal visit to Mr. Burns' home O'Keefe concluded that he had indeed found the average American.

How does Bob feel about this?

"What an honor."

Check out Kevin O'Keefe's commencement address at Eagle High School to find out what's so important about being average.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Bubba Ho-tep * * * *

This week I'm reviewing one of the few horror/thrillers I enjoy. Check out my review of Bubba Ho-tep.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Doing Something Big

You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.
Lately I've been having these feelings. A yearning. Of wanting to be a part of something "big", something significant. It's hard to explain. I want to stand out in my area of expertise, to be recognized in my field. It's not about being popular or famous but being sought out or referred to because of my reliability and value. This desire coincides with getting the above fortune from Mr. Lu's and reading The Bone Woman by Clea Koff.

Koff, a forensic anthropologist, was twenty-three when she went to Rwanda on the UN's first Internationl Criminal Tribunal to collect evidence of genocide. For years she knew she wanted to fight human rights abuses by reading their bones and speaking for them. She describes a day "at work" while in Bosnia:

Nine hours of clearing earth from on top of bodies and disengaging their limbs from one another for transfer to body bags was uniquely mellowing and fulfilling for me.

This is someone who has passion and drive and a clear sense of their own purpose. I think most struggle their entire lives hoping to find their purpose or that someone would simply tell them what it is. Yes, yes, my purpose is to glorify God. But how? We each are uniquely gifted so why is it that we are so confused about it?

I don't think knowing my purpose before the fact is necessary. The only necessary thing is doing. Making choices. Taking risks. Listening. Moving. Clearly defining my purpose ahead of time is not a requirement of accomplishment. In doing I discover purpose. "I should've studied anthropology." "I should've __________" is not moving. It's avoidance, denial, and rejection.

Don't misinterpret this post. It's really a personal pep talk not a sermon. When these feelings first cropped up I asked My Geek, "What possible significance could I be a part of? I'm so... average." (Insignificant was actually the word I thought.)

I'm not sure why I'm having these feelings of being a part of "something big". It could be because I'm getting older and I'm looking at the sum of my life and wondering if it adds up. It could be how the popular culture rewards pompous and unprincipled behavior. Or it could be that I have only just begun.

Willa's Flic Pic: About A Boy * * * *

If you liked High Fidelity, you'll like About A Boy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: The Final Cut * *

This is a sci-fi movie I'm reviewing over at Drool on the Frog.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tired, Weak, and Out of Control

Disappointment with God by Philip YanceyI haven't mentioned it here before but, since about 1981, I've had chronic headaches. Starting in 1988, about every 18 months, I would have a headache so severe I had to go to the emergency room. In the past 4 years they've gotten increasingly worse. I now have a headache like that about twice a month. The doctor tells me it gets worse with age. I am in pain about 95% of the time.

I find this topic incredibly difficult to talk about. My personality doesn't allow it. I am first-born and a classic A-type. Success, to me, is never failing. Never. Failing, for me, is:

  • never being tired (I finish ALL projects I am committed to on time),
  • never being weak (I am never sick and I am strong enough to do any job ALL by myself), and
  • never being out of control (I manage ALL situations to ensure my success).

Any wonder I have chronic headaches?

It's hard to take responsibility for the headaches. Naturally, I consider them a failure. In an effort not to fail, I failed.

Emotionally and spiritually I'm making progress, if not physically. I'm doing the mental reconditioning that I'm accepted as I am. The disappointing thing is that the damage is done. Twenty-five years of abuse are living in the nerves, muscles and bones of my neck, shoulders and chest.

Through all of this, I have questioned everything. Why doesn't God answer my prayers? What am I doing wrong? What does God want from me? What purpose does this serve? How can I serve God when I can't get out of bed?

Recently my pastor mentioned that similar questions were addressed in a book by Philip Yancey called Disappointment in God. I couldn't wait to get the book.

I've been angry, hopeless and disappointed in God. This book has done a lot to get me talking to Him again. I learned that God only wants two things: He wants us to trust Him (faith) and to choose (love) Him. This may seem like a pat answer but Yancey gave me a new perspective.

"For Job, the battleground of faith involved lost possessions, lost family members, lost health. … But the more important battle, as shown in Job, takes place inside us. Will we trust God? Job teaches that at the moment when faith is hardest and least likely, then faith is most needed." - Disappointment in God, Philip Yancey

I'm disappointed in myself for not standing by God when I was unsure why things were happening the way the were. I feel like a spoiled child or demanding lover who hasn't gotten her way. Our relationship is for better or for worse.

I don't know what's going on in God's world, the spirit world, so I have to trust that He's doing what is best for me. I don't see what battles are raging in the heavens over my prayers. I don't hear the groans that are made for my case. I don't feel the turmoil and intensity that rages in the universe... for me.

I can't tell you why it is that God doesn't heal me. I don't know and I've got to stop trying to answer that question. I need to have faith in what I do know. I know that God is extremely emotional over me. I know that God's desire is to wipe away all tears but that won't happen on this earth. I know my prayers reach God. I know, like a parent over a suffering child, God aches over every minute I'm in pain.

"But what if I create a universe that is free, free even of me? What if I veil My Divinity so that the creatures are free to pursue their individual lives without being overwhelmed by My overpowering Presence? Will the creatures love Me? Can I be loved by creatures whom I have not programmed to adore me forever? Can love arise out of freedom? My angels love me unceasingly, but they can see Me at all times." - The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, William I. Thompson

Love is precarious. I've always said that given the right circumstances, any two people can fall in love. Love wanes and cannot solely sustain a relationship. What does? Choice. Everyday I may not love my spouse but everyday I choose him. It's conscious and calculated. Everyday I want to choose God. When God and I stand before naysayers and critics I want to choose Him. When I face "for worse" I want to choose Him.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Color-By-Numbers


For those of you who, like me, got in trouble for drawing on the walls as a child...


Jenny Wilkinson Design offers a paint-by-numbers wallpaper. So rise up, crayon in hand, and have at it! There is therefore now no condemnation for those who choose to color on the walls of their own home.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: A History of Violence ½*

Here's my first really bad movie review. Let me know if you think I'm wrong.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: The Woodsman * * * *

Check out this week's movie review of The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You Can Tell Their Stories

My Geek is amazing at finding the most obscure and interesting stuff on the internet. He managed to distract me for almost two hours one Saturday morning with a web site of old photos.

The host of the web site has several interests which include all kinds of photography. One of the things he does is develop the old film he finds in antique cameras. These mysterious lost old photos are what kept me occupied for so long.

It's mesmerizing to look through each photo and wonder who these people are, where they are now, and what the occasion was that prompted a Kodak moment. Click on a single picture and you can see all the photos he was able to develop off the roll of film found in that particular camera. My Geek has an old camera with an undeveloped roll of film much like the Pocket Kodak pictured here. We've always wondered what sliver of life is frozen in time on that celluloid cylinder.

Particularly fascinating are the 7 rolls of film from a 1940 Argus A. Are these from WWII in Europe?

My favorite picture is on a roll that appears to be a family vacation. Do these remind you of any of your family trips? Be sure and check out the little girl riding the tricycle. Priceless.

Are you having an artistic block? Visit this web site sometime and create the story behind these photos. It's irrisistable. (Be honest. Don't steal the photos. They are copyrighted.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Layer Cake

This week's review is the crime dramaLayer Cake.

Also, on the same page, check out My Geek's film pic's this week for crime drama's.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Boris Artzybasheff

M.C. Escher M.C. Escher

James Montgomery FlaggJames Montgomery Flagg

I love black and white art. The first medium I ever fell in love with was graphite. It is detailed and hazy, strong and gentle, and very convenient. Years later I was exposed to pen & ink. Some of my favorite black & white illustrators are M.C. Escher, James Montgomery Flagg and Aubrey Beardsley.

Aubrey BeardsleyAubrey Beardsley

Boris ArtzybasheffRecently I learned about the illustrator, Boris Artzybasheff. Born in Russia, Artzybasheff came to the US after the Russian revolution and became the cover illustrator for Time Magazine from 1941 until his death in 1965. His work captivates me because it has a science fiction theme of merging humans and machines (which reminds me of H.R. Giger) and the first pieces I ever saw were in black & white.

A book of his work, As I See, can be purchased at Ken's Publishing.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Equilibrium * * * 1/2

Check out this week's movie review of Equilibrium.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Linens Infused With Light


Rachel Wingfield and Mathias Gmachl have turned everyday linens into fine art by adding programmable light-emitting materials. These pillows, duvets, tableclothes and curtains have a beautiful glow. Learn more about them and where they can be purchased.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Primer * * *

I've posted my first movie review over on DroolontheFrog for Primer. Check it out.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Movie Reviews

"The Philidelphia Story", 1940, my favorite movieI've been planning a movie review blog for about six months. I've finally decided to get it started. I will be putting up reviews every Friday on my other blog, DroolOnTheFrog. Check out today's post where I talk about what I'll be reviewing and how.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Postmoderism and "The Da Vinci Code"

I didn’t think The Da Vinci Code was a good novel. There are some things that Dan Brown did very well but he did just as many things very poorly. He just happened to hit on the right combination of good and bad writing to make it a page-turner. I loved Mary DeMuth's post on authorial convenience. It's the same issue I have with the Left Behind series, The Lost World by Crichton (sequel to Jurassic Park) and Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (sequel to Ender's Game) – the authors are preaching at me about one thing or another. If I want a sermon, I’ll go to church or listen to talk radio. When I pick up a novel, I want good characters and a story.

So why has The Da Vinci Code sold 40 million copies? There are a lot of reasons but I think what Brown did right was capitalize on the postmodern culture.

Ladies, don’t be fooled by this novel. Brown is no friend to women. In the beginning, he really plays up Sophie's independence and intelligence - until they get to Teabing's estate. Then she seems to lose all ability to reason and act on her own, buying anything the two men say and doing whatever they ask. I don't think Brown is an advocate for women. He basically condones sexual exploitation of women akin to temple prostitution! Ladies, it sounds noble but this is an old scheme used in the name of spirituality. I think Brown is a wolf in sheep's clothing where women’s issues are concerned.

In the story, I think it's fascinating that Teabing yanks out all these books to prove his point. Where do these come from? What's their validity? It's very pomo and very cunning by Brown. If it's written down, it must be true. I don't know how many times I've heard, "If it's on the internet, it must be true."

I've also wondered why homosexuals haven't come out against Brown. Basically, he says homosexuals cannot achieve spiritual enlightenment because they don't have sex with women. He never addresses gay sex but he makes it very clear that woman is key to spiritual fulfillment.

My friend, Erin, sent me a great article on the 10 mistakes Christians Make in the Arts. I saw a headline on The Drudge Report before the movie opened that Christians were boycotting the movie, which this article addresses. I'm torn. People think it's so noble that Islamists turn violent at any mockery of their god or physical scriptures. I think we should be offended at mockery and lies about our God but they are non-believers. And isn't our God and conduct more relational than the Islmist's are? Their god is not personal. God is in my heart not in print.

Last year my small group decided to discuss the historical and scriptural references made in The Da Vinci Code. The novel was having impact on the culture and we wanted to be able to discuss it. As a result, we were asked to present our material to the entire church. My topic was the reliability of scripture. But I find it much more important to get believers to understand how to communicate with their culture than in providing them with facts about their own gospel.

Christians see the opening of the movie as a great opportunity to discuss Jesus. It is but I urge you that the audience for this discussion is very small. The people open for this discussion are (1) Christians or believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who's faith is shaken by this or (2) non-believers who accept this as their next spiritual guide.

The audience for this discussion is not simply everybody who goes to see the movie or reads the book! When my unchurched, postmodern friend heard we were doing a study at church about the novel she said, "You guys are taking this way too seriously. It's just a novel." She's not your audience.

Not only is the audience limited, the Christians who are called to discuss this are limited. Only certain people are called to go to Papua New Guinea. I believe that My Geek and I are uniquely gifted for the multi-media/art based mission field. In one church group discussion about the novel, a guy spoke up and said we were wrong for purchasing Dan Brown’s book. I don't think this person is called to this mission field.

Here’s a question.

My lost friend asks me to go see the movie with him. I see it as an opportunity to have a spiritual discussion. Is it o.k. for me to see the movie?

My lost friend asks me to go to a strip club. I see this as an opportunity to talk about marriage, monogamy and sexual purity. Is it o.k. to go to the strip club?

What’s the difference, if any?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rock On

Princeton Laptop OrchestraI have no musical talent. I can't read music or play an instrument. It is a real stretch to say that I make "a joyful noise unto the Lord" when I sing. I have a great deal of trouble sorting out sounds. I am almost purely a visual learner. Don't tell me to remember something. If one of us doesn't write it down, I'll forget it before you can finish the sentence.

But I love music. It comforts me, it makes me happy and it helps me get through my work day. It's an art form that I couldn't live without. When I hear music, I hear evidence of the Creator. I can appreciate it but I'll never make it on my own. That's why I was fascinated by a recent article in WIRED magazine.

In the March issue Rachel Metz writes about some Princeton students who formed the Princeton Laptop Orchestra last fall. They connect their Macs to custom omnidirectional speakers to emulate a full-fledged philharmonic, electronica band, or jazz combo! Is it real art? Is it real music? I say, "Rock on geeks!"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Star Wars Meets Veggie Tales

If the Star Wars philosophy has always bothered you a bit, be bothered no more. Now Luke and Co. have morphed into Cuke; his sidekick, Chew-Broccoli; and master mentor, Yogurt. Yes, in true Veggie Tales fashion Luke and the gang have exchanged their talk of the force to talk of the farm. Check it out.

Once you have seen it, put your creativity to work and ask yourself this: What story that I've heard over and over can I re-tell in veggie or fruit form? Just keep in mind there's a reason Veggie Tales never had Jesus represented as a veggie. They reportedy had creative difficulties figuring out which one was worthy. (By the way, somebody should tell Larry that tomatoes are fruits.) Good call. Always good to show a little respect.

Friday, March 24, 2006

10,000 Hours

In a WIRED article entitled "Buddha on the Brain":

The Dalai Lama is here to give a speech titled "The Neuroscience of Meditation." Over the past few years, he has supplied about a dozen Tibetan Buddhist monks to Richard Davidson, a prominent neuroscience professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davidson's research created a stir among brain scientists when his results suggested that, in the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the monks had actually altered the structure and function of their brains.


This reminded me of Romans 12:2 that says:


Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


I wonder if we, as Christians, were to spend thousands of hours meditating, what might happen?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Bezalel's Guild

Recently as I read Exodus, I was reminded of something in chapter 31 that every Christ-following artist can appreciate:

God had just given instructions for the tabernacle, and then he said this: "See, I have chosen Bezalel ... and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab ... to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent--the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand--and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you."

Here's what I love about this: Moses and his siblings weren't the only ones filled with the Spirit; it wasn't just the leaders or the speakers whom God used. He also filled the artists so they could practice their crafts to His glory. Tentmakers. Stonemakers. Weavers. Incense workers. To all of these God gave skill.

God seems to have done something similar in you who have sent files for the art gallery. We can see how you've interacted artistically with the truth in God's Word and through your craftsmanship we get a glimpse of His glory. Surely the Spirit of the Lord is in this place.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Great Resource for artists


One evening when my Oregonian mother was visiting me in Dallas, we stopped channel surfing when we saw a guy playing "the aquarium section" at a symphony performance. If you've seen Sandra Bullock's character in Miss Congeniality play the musical water glasses, you know the sort of "instrument" I'm talking about. (I have since learned that the musician, Jamey Turner, is called a "glass harpist.") Mom and I stopped and watched what turned out to be a great television program. It was the broadcast of a Catholic Communications production titled, "Creativity: Touching the Divine." We later tracked it down for purchase. Since then I have shown it every time I've taught Christian Journalism at Dallas Seminary (four or five years).

The fim explores "the universal virtue of creativity ranging from the fine arts to daily living." It was my first introduction to Frederick Hart, the sculptor responsible for the creation scene over the doors of the Washington National Cathedral, where I try to go once every holiday seaon. It also includes Madeleine L'Engle, whose book A Wrinkle in Time had a profound impact on my imagation in the sixth grade.

Have a look. If you love the marriage of faith and art, you'll find yourself savoring a feast.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Science is Art II

Milhouse "Microchip engineers may not seem like creative types, but they've been quietly using silicon as a canvas for decades. When magnified 1,000 to 5,000 times, some semiconductors reveal tiny works of art etched there by their makers." - START, etchings, Todd Jatras, December 2005.

Chipworks is an engineering firm that has collected these disappearing little art forms and put them in a gallery on their web site. There's everything from animals to fictional characters to messages. Ghost in the machine?

RobotI remember back in the 80's typing out an image of the robot from "LOST IN SPACE" in the comment lines of my code (pre emoticon days).

People just can't help but be creative.