Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Picture - Many Takes

While strolling from room to room in the National Gallery (London), I entered an exhibit titled: Take One PictureThe painting, Tobias and the Angel, provided a cross-curricular focus for primary grade students to creatively develop works of art using the story from the painting.

The exhibit awakened  my senses as I moved around the room:  my eyes moved from one object to another.  I touched textile creations.  I heard music inspired by the painting.  I saw elegantly crafted fish and squares of colors that mimicked the colors and patterns in the painting.

A large metal sculpture made from scraps testified of the blending of science and art as interpreted and fashioned by students.

While slowly moving from one piece to another, my memories of the American Studies course from my junior year in high school flooded my mind.  The course spanned the period from 1700 - 1950.  The cross curricular plan made the course alive for me.  We studied the history, literature, art and music of each time period simultaneously throughout the school year.  The course was challenging in many ways.  It was also one of the most interesting and life-changing method of learning I had ever known. 

I still enjoy learning a topic across various disciplines. 

What is your favorite way to learn?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Remembering Fathers

As Father's Day approaches, my thoughts linger on memories of my father.  My father would have 'turned' 95 years old on June 6.  He died in 1993.  While my father did not live with my mother and their five children, he was present in my life and taught me life lessons.  I learned to be a responsible worker from him.  I learned to accept the way in which he demonstrated love - giving money or goods.  When I was 17 years old, I asked my father to please choose a gift for me and not give me money.  He bought me a camel colored winter coat  with puffed sleeves and scroll work stitched on the collar.  I treasured that coat and kept it for many years.  Taking the coat to a second-hand shop felt like giving away a precious jewel.

Today, my friend Barbara and her siblings traveled across states to visit their father.  His memory fails him at crucial times and he may need to move out of his home.  I think of this family and pray for father and children to hear each other - to take action that meets their needs as a family.

Tonight, I remember John.  John - a dear friend with the spiritual heart of the Father - died in November 2010 when his physical heart rested.  He taught me that in order to have the Father's heart, I needed to receive the Father's love - just as the prodigal son did. 

John visited The Hermitage in St. Petersburg and spent hours viewing Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son.  He said at various points during  his time at the museum, he saw himself as the prodigal son, the elder brother, and the father.  John served as a spiritual father to so many.  I miss him here.

I am grateful for the example of fathering I see in my husband.  Experiencing his intentional, willing to grow, patient and gracious approach to our children healed wounds in my heart.  I am grateful to know and deeply love him.

Henri Nouwen, in Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming eloquently writes about being a son and being a compassionate father.
Thus for my sake, Jesus becomes the younger son as well as the elder son in order to show me how to become the Father.  Through him I can become a true son again and, as a true son, I finally can grow to be compassionate as our heavenly Father is. p. 127
I am so grateful to Father God for showing me what He requires of me, providing life through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to live out that requirement to:
"do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with my God." (Micah 6:8). 

My transformation continues...

Stop by the Faith Barista Jam today and share your thoughts on fathers.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Being Still - Knowing God - Giving Thanks

I recently traveled to England with seven family members.  The time away restored my soul.  The combination of a slower pace and attuned ear resulted in a depth of stillness that I do not experience often enough.  Trust and thankfulness flowed from this stillness.
Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted in the earth!  Psalm 46:10
The end of May echoed the beginning: counting gifts given freely by the Exalted One.

Numbering the gifts and giving thanks day by day for:

#961 - #1027

May 21
scrubbing floors; gathering clothes to give away; packing for two in one suitcase; grace for flight challenges; safe drive to the airport; yielding to rest

May 22
luggage glitch - clarity reached; pleasant car ride; beautiful accomodations for eight; strolling city streets; sitting in the park with Mom; history framed on walls

May 23
safe arrival of three; glimpse of the Queen; walking on ancient floors; religious freedom; eying London; reading her story; long-distance greetings

May 24
sights and sounds of Piccadilly Circus; tea and biscuits with new friend; hearing the voice of the Prince; family walk; children jumping rope; public transportation

May 25
verdant Kent countryside; Canterbury; napping in the people-mover; lovely dining hall; walking through disappointment; dreamy bed linens

May 26
Merton tour; rain-facilitated rest; multi-colored hues in courtyard garden; cooking with Sis; witnessing legacy; reading Digging to America

May 27
flying pigs; lunch with colleagues; climbing narrow stairs to the rooftop; late night van ride; grace for flexibility; reading 1611 King James Bible under glass

May 28
moments to connect; solemn and special graduation ceremony; her beautiful, bountiful hair; doorways and hope; pub dinner to celebrate

May 29
worshipping with believers in a foreign land; garden walk; packing for home; contemplating wells - old and new; resolve to write; agreeing in prayer; ginger cookies

May 30
raindrops and farewells; giving way; 31 years of team work; wise, adventurous husband; airport shopping; conversation in flight

May 31
slow pace; grocery shopping; sharing life stories; cooking dinner at home; listening to Mama; parking lot chat

Consider joining the Gratitude Community in counting gifts and giving thanks!