Friday, February 16, 2018

Great Backyard Bird Count

This is the first year I am participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. My view is pictured in the photo of my blog header and I can look out over my patio, as well as birdfeeders in two other places easily seen. In fact sitting here typing, I can see shadows of birds as they fly to one of my feeders. With those views I have little excuse and more than plenty of reasons to join in the fun.

All of the data is used to help answer questions such as those listed on the GBBC website:

• How will the weather and climate change influence bird populations?
• Some birds, such as winter finches, appear in large numbers during some years but not others. Where are these species from year to year, and what can we learn from these patterns?
• How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
• How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
• What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?

Also, here is a map that show, in real-time, lists being submitted all over the world.

For me, it is simply a time to sit still, watch, and let the wonder of birds take me over for a short time. I always come away with a sense of awe at their beauty and diversity, and that awe always leads to worship and gratitude.

I'll be listing my observations for the next few days and if you want to join. Click on the link above for more details. In as little as fifteen minutes for one day you can participate ( in that short amount of time I saw 2 of the beauties pictured above) and add to our understanding of these remarkable creatures.

Observations for February 16, 2018

Species Count
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 2
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 1
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) 2
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) 1
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) 1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 10
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 2
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 2
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 20
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 4
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 1

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Loose strings and tight knots

The year is coming to a close and I am tying up a few loose strings and untying a few knots. One loose string is posting my reviews of some of the books I have read this year. So here are a fair number of them. As I look over this list, two stand out. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life and Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

I plan to use Liturgy of the Ordinary, along with a few other sources, to set up practices and disciplines that I hope will help me in attending to my faith in a more consistent pattern which I hope will begin to develop practices I can use throughout my life to shape my life and faith and remind me of the very Good God, who loves me.

Hidden Figures. What an incredibly inspiring book to read at this time in history. Women who took advantage of every opportunity, dealt with racial and gender discrimination with character, poise, and determination, and did it all while enjoy and appreciating the good that life has to offer. A lesson I hope to take with me into this new year and use as wisely as they did.

I would be interested in hearing what others have read this year and what you would recommend as well.

A Grief Observed

Listened to this while driving during a trip. Lewis, honest and raw, shows us the value of wrestling with doubts, fears, and overwhelming emotions that threaten to sink us at times. While a book primarily about his grief from losing his wife, I found parts of it invaluable in dealing with other losses. Narrator is Ralph Cosham.

A Christmas Carol
This is the edition that I listened to this year. Well done!

To Be Where You Are (Mitford Years #14)

The title says it all. Be all in where you are, with those you are with. No flash, no spin, just live the quiet life with joy.

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place

Finished this awhile back. What I appreciate most about Andy Crouch's writings is his ability to frame questions about the issues of the time we live in. Asking the proper questions, and knowing how to do that, is crucial to our ability to then think well about those issues. He does so in this his latest work and I found myself making some changes to how I approach and use technology. It was also a pleasure to attend his talk on this subject in my local city. His fleshing out (literally...we participated in some of the activities presented in the book) added to the book and I do wish he would continue to present in that manner.

The Grace of Dogs: A Boy, a Black Lab, and a Father's Search for the Canine Soul

Thoughtful, engaging book on the shaping influence relationships with dogs can have on their owners. I could see better how my dog, Samwise, has shaped me for the better because of his patient faithfulness to me.
Update: after entering quotes into my commonplace book, I realize this book, in many ways, is also a theological anthropology. He presents a view of man and his ways of relating based in imago Dei. Setting aside the book for a short time before I entered quotes allowed me to realize how subtly this book has challenged me to examine beliefs that I truly hold to that may or may not be rooted in a sound theology or that I thought I held to but in practice have failed miserable. This has been both a pleasant surprise and a rude awakening.

The Confusion of Languages

More to come later. This is a remarkable book on several levels. Her characters are well portrayed, especially their interior life. Her exploration of how our thoughts can provide motivation for our emotions and actions, and vice versa, the way language (especially defintions) can influence those, and the enormous effort it takes to recognize it all has left me mulling over this work.

Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South

After watching a few of her episodes of A Chef's Life, I borrowed her cookbook from the library. She is a storyteller. I enjoyed reading more of her experiences as she came to enjoy and appreciate her East Carolina roots, food, family, and traditions. Gathered recipes to try and continued to enjoy this twist on cookbooks that serve up good food and incorporate storytelling in the mix.

Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors

This is a remarkable book. President George W. Bush fills this book with portraits he painted of wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He highlights the individual stories of those soldiers included in the book using his plain-spoken style and occasional dry wit he is known for. One more note, many of those whose stories are include here speak of their healing being a life-long journey they have embraced. Most cite the love of family, faith, medical care, and exercise as key components in their recovery. And as the author mentions several times the soldiers courage played no small part as well. Think this will be my Dad's Birthday present this year.

How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life

I read this out of curiosity about the trend of hygge. An interesting peek into Nordic lifestyle. However, from this author's representation, nothing that I haven't read before from Charlotte Mason, Edith Schaeffer, Amish officiandos, etc. At the core is a lifestyle centered around keeping simple the activities of nature and outdoor living , food and hospitality, family and friends with an eye to enjoyment of the good gifts of life.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

As someone who grew up during the early stages of the space race, I was enamored with all things NASA. So much so that the first thing that I ever earned money for was a book produced by the Gulf Oil company about the Apollo 13 space mission. I remember going with my dad to get the book from Bubba McCoy's gas station one morning before school and it was worth every penny. I wonder what happened to that book. So it's no surprise that I enjoyed this well-written, well-researched account of the role of African American women in NACA AND NASA. It was captivating. The author writes in the style of David McCullough and easily kept my interest. These women succeeded facing all manner of prejudices and other odds against them not just because of their intelligence and tenacity but due to a sense of accomplishing something bigger than themselves. And they loved mathematics, who would argue with that?

Barbara Bush: A Memoir

I loved reading her memories and thoughts about so much of the history that I remember. She is a remarkable woman who clearly loved and served with all she has. This was the third year in a row that I read about the Bush family and this coming year will be no exception. Decision Points by her son is waiting in the stacks for the 2018 New Year's Day.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life

This will easily be one of my top 5 books of the year. A much needed, well written apology and description of the ways liturgy can shape us as the people of God if given both the mental and willful assent that we often subconsciously give to the other habits. Recommended by James K. A. Smith, whose _You Are What You Love_ and Cultural Liturgies trilogy I hope to finish this year.

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story

Thanks to the audio version, traveling and cleaning this week were not tedious and I was able to finish this quickly. The story and narrator easily kept my interest. She tells her story with an eye to both the beauty and corruption of human nature. Her's is a story of perseverance. more to come later

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

This is a yearly re-read for me. I can take it slow and enjoy the writing, which is satisfying.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine Wolf
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A poignant tale from a couple who have faced great suffering and have learned to walk in it because of the faith and trust they have chosen to place in God who wounds and gives life out of that suffering. Highly recommended.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

One of my favorites

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

This Place

This place I can stop for awhile 
bluebirds' visits
during winter's barrenness; 
storms roll in, 
and through;
pastures green 
from spring's storms 
threaten life; 
another day's sun 
in the west.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Step in Time Indeed

It was one of the first movies that I remember watching and with good reason. Music, singing, magic, and oh the dancing. I thoroughly enjoyed this rendition of the most energetic dance in the movie. And the delightful surprise guest appearance...well, see for yourself.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Night to Night Reveals Knowledge

Psalm 19

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers

The Nine TailorsThe Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“So I think I'd better go, said Wimsey. "I rather wish I hadn't come buttin' into this. Some things may be better left alone, don't you think? My sympathies are all in the wrong place and I don't like it. I Know all about not doing evil tha good may come. I'ts doin' good that evil may come that is so embarrassin'."
"My dear boy," said the Rector, "it does not do for us to take too much thought for the morrow. It is better to follow the truth and leave the results in the hand of God. He can forsee where we cannot, because He knows all the facts.”

It was with this quote that I understood why Sayers designed such an "easy" mystery and places this book on my re-read list. I knew fairly early on the identity of the corpse, but continued reading to see why she would craft the story so and to see where she was taking me.  She took me to a community that cares for its own, and to the church that stands high on a hill, whose ringing bells bring joy, comfort, and alarms in times of need. That church provided shelter when a flood and tragedy occur because pleas for a solution are ignored. In all of this, by crafting several sub-plots, she asks me to consider that the ways of our Lord are indeed the mystery bringing both sorrow and joy with comfort, sometimes a indiscernible comfort, being had in leaving "the results in the hand of God."  Masterly and subtly crafted, it is well worth a second or more reading.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron aka Idol Making 101

I rarely post about movies.  I usually watch then after the DVD release...when I'm binge watching because I'm sick.  However, I do like the Marvel Universe movies and willingly plunk down hard earned cash to watch them. Being at the tail end of the baby boomer generation, comic books were a household staple when we were sick. Great entertainment at a cheap price, the 60's and 70's DVD's. Watching the comics come to life has been fun, but even these movies I don't usually give time to reflect upon and much less write about.  But my cynical self was pleasantly, quietly blindsided. Avengers: Age of Ultron kept me up thinking long into the night, it is fast paced, witty, darker and thoughtfully conceived and delivered.

I purposefully did not read reviews of this movie. Knowing the franchise and its purpose and quirks, I was satisfied to let the film serve what I had come to expect, plenty of action and a side of morality. However, Joss Whedon served me more. Much more, and I should have expected it (Firefly, Serenity, anyone?). For more on the film here is a great review at Christianity Today*.

Spoiler Alert You've been warned

At this point, I'll only add two thoughts to the review.  Whedon, scriptwriter and director, deftly portrays the role that fear plays in paralyzing and enslaving us . He subtly crafts how the power of individual and collective fears grows by feeding on the denial of and the effort to outrun and outgun those fears. Each character has abilities and skills that set them apart for unique service; family, intelligence, wealth, power, time, speed, patriotism, morality, physical strength, agility, birthright. However each has their own fears for themselves and society that will drive them foolishly and recklessly, unless, like their abilities, which can be used for good or evil, they choose to address and direct wisely. Whedon incarnates the result of allowing fears free reign in both the creating and creation of Ultron.  In the biblical parlance, the characters use their skills and abilities to create idols  in order to control chaos, to control their fear and what they fear.  We see in this movie how such a response does not alleviate the fears but instead causes those fears to take over their lives and take on bodies of sort. Fear becomes incarnate.  And the life that is created in and from fear that seeks to control will eventually dominate life. However, because this is Whedon's universe he doesn't leave us without alternatives.

Just like the taste of what is to come embedded in the credits of each movie, Whedon embeds within this movie better motives to direct the abilities, fears, and lives of our super-heroes. We see this most clearly not in Vision but Hawkeye. A quiet character who is often on the periphery of these movies, whose ability to see clearly and accurately saves the lives of his fellow Avengers. We know little about him except what has been revealed in previous movies. In The Avengers, Hawkeye is under the mind control of Loki and says to Black Widow about the experience,  "Have you ever had someone pick your brain and play? Pull you out, stuff something else in. Do you know what it's like to be unmade. Well, yes, in fact, she has we find out in this second Avengers movie, but I digress.  Keep this scene in mind, because blink and you'll miss what I consider to be the crucial statement and turning point of the movie. During a fight scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, we see Scarlet Witch using her ability to control the minds of the Avengers with each hero's fears. As she tries to do so with Hawkeye, he uses a paralyzing arrow, on her forehand no less, to stop her and says, "I've done the whole mind control thing, not a fan."  What might be seen as just another witticism of Whedon, I think is more. 

That more is Hawkeye's reason for fighting. Having his mind controlled once before he knows to guard against mind control, aka  fears,  and uses his past experiences, abilities, and tools to thwart the attack on his mind. He directs his efforts not to controlling fear, or to attempt to eliminate fear, but  to fight wisely for something.  And that something is family, place, and a way of life. He harnesses his fears and redirects them to fight for the good of others. To choose not to be driven by his fears or anger, but to use them to see what is truly good, beautiful and true. What is that good, true ,and beautiful? Sometimes it's envisioning in the midst of battle the conversion of your  dining room into a work space for your pregnant wife. And to understand that you will need to see the movie. Maybe more than once.

*this magazine has stepped up it's review game in the last year

UPDATE: Feeling validated about the key theme of marriage and family by this from Alan Jacobs Pin It Now!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wood between the Worlds

     My dad began painting a few years ago and has since gifted us with his handiwork. About a year ago, he gave me the choice of a few others he had on hand and I immediately knew which one I wanted. This one.
     When I was growing up, in the providence of our Maker, I lived in a small 3 bedroom home situated  at the edge of our town. And next to that home were acres and acres of meadows, wooded areas, creeks, streams, and even a wild strawberry patch. There was one place that stood out and to this day still does, and this painting reminds me of that spot. It was still, quiet, peaceful, and green with life. A place, as the narrator in The Magician's Nephew described, where "The trees grew close together and were so leafy that he could get no glimpse of the sky. All the light was green light that came through the leaves: but there must have been a very strong sun overhead, for this green daylight was bright and warm. It was the quietest wood you could possibly imagine. ...This wood was very much alive. ...'It was a rich place...'" Pin It Now!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Winter Walk

Sometimes the weekend starts off with sudden disappointment, progressing before a dim light softens the edges. At that point all you can do is walk, allowing subtle shades of white, black, and gray, calls of cardinals, flocks of robins, and a silence pregnant with peace to work their tender care. 

A view that beckoned

and invited.

An expanse that humbled and reminded graciously.

Fear gave way crossing to quiet sights.

As always click on a photograph to enlarge.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014


by George Herbert (1593- 1633)
Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.
See how thy beggar works on thee
By art.
He makes thy gifts occasion more,
And says, If he in this be crossed,
All thou hast given him heretofore
Is lost.
But thou didst reckon, when at first
Thy word our hearts and hands did crave,
What it would come to at the worst
To save.
Perpetual knockings at thy door,
Tears sullying thy transparent rooms,
Gift upon gift, much would have more,
And comes.
This not withstanding, thou wenst on,
And didst allow us all our noise:
Nay thou hast made a sigh and groan
Thy joys.
Not that thou hast not still above
Much better tunes, than groans can make;
But that these country-airs thy love
Did take.
Wherefore I cry, and cry again;
And in no quiet canst thou be,
Till I a thankful heart obtain
Of thee:
Not thankful, when it pleaseth me;
As if thy blessings had spare days:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gratitude-Obligation, Pride, and Self-Sacrifice

From The Imaginative Conservative:

. “Do you love English literature, Mr. Hutchins, or do you feel a vocation to teach, or what is your motive?” “I want to earn enough money to put myself through law school,” Hutchins answered, his arrogant head held high.
“Why should you earn the money?” Bell asked. “That’s an awkward way to go about it. I know that college presidents do not get large salaries, but your father has many wealthy friends, any one of whom would be happy to lend you the money for law school; once successful as a lawyer, you could pay back the sum. Why not do that?”
“Because,” said Hutchins, sustained by much self-assurance, “I don’t mean to be obligated to anyone.” Clearly he anticipated approval of such fine Emersonian self-reliance.
“Then, Mr. Hutchins, we don’t want you at St. Stephen’s.”
Young Hutchins was angry: “Why not?”
“Because, Mr. Hutchins, we don’t want anyone in this college who is too proud to be obligated to anybody.”

"... the authentic conservative tradition in the West, owing to its Christian roots, leaves room for gratuitous, unmerited favor—what Burke named and Kirk championed “the unbought grace of life”. (Please, friends, treat yourself by reading the material at the link.)
Life is not a zero-sum affair. Most of us receive much more than we deserve, more than we could possibly “earn” without help. For the proud, this condition of being openly indebted to God and to men is personally humiliating, and typically issues in various manifestations of resentment...or denial...
When I left home after high school, I stayed with my great aunt and uncle for three years while attending community college. Their help to me was indispensible. I once told Uncle Lou that I would try to repay them. He told me, 'Don’t repay us, Jeff. Just do the same for somebody else.'"
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Monday, November 3, 2014

Gratitude-The Creator gives thanks

The Creator gives thanks
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 
 Luke 22:19-20
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Haiku for rain

Smell softly spring rain
Calm the raging dragon mind
Beget peace for all. Pin It Now!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The King's Speech

This is one of my favorite movies. Well written, directed, and performed in every aspect, masterfully presenting the themes of perseverance and courage, friendship and loyalty, and trust and devotion we all need and can provide one another as we face our unique weaknesses and difficulties whatever our station in and era of life. 

Favorite quote:

King George VI: Listen to me. *Listen to me!*
Lionel Logue: Listen to you? By what right?
King George VI: By divine right if you must, I am your king.
Lionel Logue: No you're not, you told me so yourself. You didn't want it. Why should I waste my time listening?
King George VI: Because I have a right to be heard. I have a voice!
Lionel Logue: [pauses] Yes, you do.
[Longer pause]
Lionel Logue: You have such perseverance Bertie, you're the bravest man I know.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

These are thy wonders, Lord of love

Music link below

The Flower

How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
         To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
                      Grief melts away
                      Like snow in May,
         As if there were no such cold thing.

         Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
         Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
                      Where they together
                      All the hard weather,
         Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

         These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
         And up to heaven in an hour;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
                      We say amiss
                      This or that is:
         Thy word is all, if we could spell.

         Oh that I once past changing were,
Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
         Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither;
                      Nor doth my flower
                      Want a spring shower,
         My sins and I joining together.

         But while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if heaven were mine own,
         Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost to that? what pole is not the zone
                      Where all things burn,
                      When thou dost turn,
         And the least frown of thine is shown?

         And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
         I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing. Oh, my only light,
                      It cannot be
                      That I am he
         On whom thy tempests fell all night.

         These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
         Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
                      Who would be more,
                      Swelling through store,
         Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.

(if you do not have a Spotify account, Spring I can be heard by clicking on link)
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Saturday, December 7, 2013

What more could God have given

This beautiful piece is found here 

The Promise

The Lord God said when time was full
He would shine His light in the darkness
He said a virgin would conceive
And give birth to the Promise
For a thousand years the dreamers dreamt
And hoped to see His love
The Promise showed their wildest dreams
had simply not been wild enough
But the Promise showed their wildest dreams
Had simply not been wild enough

The Promise was love and the Promise was life
The Promise meant light to the world
Living proof Jehovah saves
For the name of the Promise was Jesus
The Faithful One saw time was full
And the ancient pledge was honored
So God the Son, the Incarnate One
His final Word, His own Son
Was born in Bethlehem
But came into our hearts to live
What more could God have given
Tell me what more did He have to give
What more could God have given
Tell me what more did He have to give

The Promise was love and the Promise was life
The Promise meant light to the world
Living proof Jehovah saves
For the name of the Promise was Jesus
At last the proof Jehovah save
For the name of the Promise was Jesus

~Michael Card        

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Everyone can learn from this

What did I learn...that the Gospel plays itself out in a million different ways and I'm grateful that God calls me to sit on the bench, suit-up, pass the ball, whatever, whenever, however He sees fit...because in the end there will be cause for celebrating.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Images of winter

We have a snow day here and so I'm taking time to clear my camera's card. I wanted to share a few images of our winter here in the area. Currently we are snowed/iced in and waiting for, hopefully, another snow day. Slowing down and taking in the scenery is a good in and of itself. As always click on the photo for a larger view.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Yet Another Canvas DIY

There are a number of diy wall canvas project instructions available via the Web,  most made popular by Pinterest, so I might as well add to the list. I wanted the canvas look without the cost, and quite frankly some of the mess. Some of my projects have not turned out well using the various instructions so I wanted to  developed an easier method that would give me the canvas look without most of the mess and failed attempts. Enter a versatile paper called canvas paper or canvas pad paper. It is a textured paper that is coated or primed for use with oils, acrylics and other media.

And I was able to create this:

and a closeup shows you how nice the texture is:

You will need:

Fredrix 3501 Canvas Pads, 12 by 16-Inch
  Aleene's Crystal Clear Tacky Spray                                            
  Winsor & Newton Artists' Canvas 8 in. x 16 in. each

Krylon 1311 Matte Finish Spray for Artists

 You will also need access to a printer. I used our HP Desktop 2710 Photosmart inkjet printer, so nothing expensive or complicated is needed.

These are just the sizes and products that I used. None of the items are expensive and with the exception of the artist canvas,(not the paper canvas), you can use the products for multiple projects. My canvas pad paper has 10 sheets and I now have 8 left for other projects ( yes, do the math, I made an error printing the first copy!)  If you check at your local art supply/craft store you will likely find something similar.  Various sizes of artist canvas and canvas pad paper are available, so you are limited only to the size paper you printer will accept. Obviously, the canvas pad paper is thicker than normal paper, but not too thick for most printers.

First, choose your design and make whatever adjustments you need to the image you will be printing. Resize, boost color, remove color, whatever you need to do. Do make the image slightly larger, you want your canvas paper to wrap over the edges just a very small amount. I added about 1/8 inch on all sides.  Print out your design on plain paper and check to see if you need to make any adjustments. If you don't have paper the size of your design, simply cut and tape pieces together to get the size you need. Don't skip this step, it could possibly save you from making a mistake.

Cut your canvas paper to the correct dimensions then place the paper in your copier's feed tray and print. Allow this to dry; I let it dry overnight. Overkill, but like I said I've had too many failures before.

Spray the canvas paper with several coats of the fixative. This will keep the ink from smearing when you adhere it to the canvas and the finished product clean. Allow this to drive according the instructions on the can.

Spray the artist canvas,(not the canvas paper), including the sides, with the spray adhesive and carefully lay the paper onto the canvas, smooth,  and then press down the edges over the sides.

 Allow to dry overnight. Then make more!

My total cost was the price of the canvas plus a little under $1. How to make it cheaper?  Glad you asked. The canvas pad paper could be glued onto any surface you can hang or display, wood, foam core board, canvas panels, anything that you can glue to could be used, so look around and see what you have and use that and your cost could be under $2. That's $2 for less mess; well worth it in my book.

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