Playdates with God: The Impressionists

The Impressionists
The Pursuit, Kayenta Arizona by William Robinson Leigh
The Impressionists
The Watcher by Frank Weston Benson
The Impressionists
Lincoln’s Birthday Flags-1918 by Childe Hassam

Every Tuesday is free Tuesday at one of our local museums. One is encouraged to leave a small donation if one is a person of any means. But I am in disguise as one of The-Least-of-These when I go, so I slip in unnoticed—a ghost in blue jeans.
I’ve resolved to wear this place out every Tuesday—to go through each exhibit with young eyes. I promise my Companion that we will not rush, that we will go slow and savor; and I pray a constant conversation as we stand before each work of art.
I have been afraid of places like this most of my life. The subtle messages the world sends to a young girl growing up in poverty scream loud in her ears. Museums, upscale restaurants, cultural centers, expensive stores with makeup counters…these were places I didn’t belong. But wisdom comes with each passing year and when God is one’s companion…the feet will make every space holy.
I spend two hours in The Impressionist exhibit. I read each and every sign, drink in color like milk. I am a child, my disguise no longer a false front…I am newly born and all the world is wonder. I have brought some squares of parchment and I pull out my pencil and try to make these paintings come to life with my hands. Later, I will fill them in with color and re-live the beauty of this moment. The joy that lifts inside of me at the curve of a goat’s neck, at the way a horse’s face takes shape under my hand…this is the joy of waking up to a new life—a new Kingdom.

The Impressionists
working of The Pursuit, watercolor pencil sketch by laura
The Impressionists
detail sketch from Women, Boy and Goats by John Costigan (my sketch)
Madeleine L’Engle, in that book I have read and re-read, dog-eared the pages and underlined in every color imaginable, she says, “We are hurt; we are lonely; and we turn to music or words, and as compensation beyond all price we are given glimpses of the world on the other side ot time and space. We all have glimpses of glory as children, and as we grow up we forget them, or are taught to think we made them up; they couldn’t possibly have been real, because to most of us who are grown up, reality is like radium, and can be borne only in very small quantities.”
And so Tuesdays will be my radium. I feel the danger already. I tremble at this glimpse of eternity and I cradle it close with parchment and graphite, color and light. 
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
  
the Playdates button:

Still…

It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve Him. Serving Him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good which was in my power to create.--Leo Tolstoy

Have you considered how happy your art makes God today? Do what He made you to do. No excuses. The heavens delight when you do. 

Don’t forget about this giveaway!

With Sandy today:
 

Rumors of a Giveaway…

Maybe the reason I have not been able to write in any sustained way is just this: I have been too stuck on what ought to be. I know what books look like, and the one I can write just now is more like a purple moth, half of a blue shell in the driveway, an afternoon needing to be rescheduled. (L.L. Barkat, Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity andWriting)
I don’t know why, but I cried straight through the first five chapters. Maybe because the words made me feel known, maybe because they are beautiful. Maybe I was just hormonal. She sent me the words early, to have a peek (she knows how I love her—how I love her writing), maybe just to see what I thought…maybe just so she could hear from me what she suspected: this is a very special book.
It’s special not just because the writing is beautiful (it is), or because L.L. invites us into her life (she does), or because the love she feels for her family is so tangible on these pages that it makes me weep—but also because her voice speaks in such a personal way. It meets the reader right where she is, takes her hand, and walks with her for a time.
It’s a book about writing and creativity, yes, but it’s also a book about living. And living with passion.
Writing starts with living. Living starts with somebody caring so much about something that they need to drag you out of your writing chair and take you where you’ll be surprised to find your words. .(L.L. Barkat, Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity and Writing)
If you want a book with how-to lists and writing exercises, this isn’t the one. But if, when you read that final page, you want to be awakened to beauty and inspired to make some of your own…well, I think this book does that quite well.  I’ve already given a copy to a friend who lives close by. Now I’d like to give two of you a copy. And one will be signed. Leave me a comment for one entry. If you want to be entered more than once, tweet about this contest or post it on Facebook for additional entries and come back here to let me know you did so. I will have my lovely assistant draw two names on Wednesday, October 19th. I’ll stop taking comments at noon on that day. I’ll announce the winners Thursday morning. 
It’s my pleasure to gift you with this treasure. Happy reading!

How to Make Time Stand Still

The days break and run and I crane my neck as they pass. Sometimes all I feel is the afterbreeze of a moment gone by. They tell me it means I’m getting old and I always laugh and agree. I thought it was just a tease…but science is telling me different.
“Time is this rubbery thing,” says neuroscience professor David Eagleman in an interview with New Yorker journalist Burkhard Bilger. “It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, ‘Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,’ it shrinks up.”
The amygdala is the part of the brain that seats emotion and memory, he goes on to say. When something exciting happens—like a threat to your life, the amygdala seems to kick into overdrive, recording every tiny detail of the experience. The more elaborate the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. “This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older,” Eagleman says—why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass. (The New Yorker, Burkhard Bilger)
Life is familiar. So we do the only thing we can to slow the moments.
We run away together. 
Columbus in May
If every day is, well…everyday, then–shouldn’t we? When our spirits grow tired and our hearts drag the ground—isn’t it only natural to seek adventure? We do. My sweetheart takes my hand and we go. Because he knows what the scientists keep trying to prove.
Adam Galinsky, professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University says getting away from the familiar gives one the distance needed to gain a new perspectiveon everyday life. He even has evidence that immersing oneself in another culture—moving to another country—boosts creativity.
We don’t have time to travel abroad. We have just one lonely night. 
Shopping at the North Market
 It stretches long. 
Dinner at Gordon Biersch–with fresh-brewed lager.

It’s not another culture, but it’s different to us. We walk the streets of a different city; let our senses awaken to the unfamiliar.
And love is young again. Time moves slow. 
What makes time slow for you?
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
   Let the king bring me into his chambers.
(Song of Solomon 1:4)
Jeff checks out the hot sauce.
At the North Market
At the Book Loft
Some of the cheese at Katzinger’s Deli
Joining with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria sisters: