Showing posts from February, 2017

God's Masterpiece of Living Stones

In addition to bringing classic sculptures to life with LEGO® bricks, The Art of the Brick offers guests original pieces of art. Nathan Sawaya, the artist behind these creations, said his goal is to elevate a childhood toy we all know and love to a higher place of art. -- Photo, courtesy of The Art of the Brick

In TheArt of the Brick exhibit, Nathan Sawaya uses only LEGO® bricks to create art forms, some original, some representations of the world's master artists.

Sawaya's work exceeds efforts by master builders, young and old, who for years have used LEGO bricks to construct original, super heroes or Star Wars scenes. Sawaya's accomplishments with LEGO bricks is more than child's play; he creates awe in contemporary art circles. People around the world praise him.
CNN heralded, “The Art of the Brick is one of the top must-see exhibits in the world!”
While people admire Sawaya's genius in The Art of the Brick exhibit, currently on display at Oregon Museum of Sci…

Nana Time: Helping out on a shopping day

I enjoy helping out with grandchildren. Recently I watched my daughter’s four youngest children in a fast-food restaurant while she bought groceries nearby. What could happen in an hour?

Eli, four, and two-year-old Theo played with other small children on the slide and elevated plastic tunnels. Now and then they ran to our table to take another lick of a dripping ice cream cone. The five-month-old twins were content to alternatively be jiggled on my lap or to stare around from a VIP seat in their twin stroller.

When Theo needed a change, all five of us headed for the small two-stalled women’s bathroom. I figured the oldest could use a break anyway.

I spread the door wide and pulled the twin stroller toward the sink, wondering if I would be able to close the door with us all inside. As the door slid shut, I saw a small woman pressed against the door to the first stall. She blinked at me. I blinked back, and pulled the stroller an inch closer to the sink. She smiled and quickly squeezed pa…

I Believe in the Sun, a cry of faith

An anonymous poem found written on a cellar wall where Jews had hidden in Cologne, Germany, during dark days in World War II:

I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent. I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while. I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace….”
A discussion in this morning's Bible study reminded me of this poem, so I found it on the Internet. When I was a young woman…

President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Robert Kennedy

Today, on President's Day, the United States Postal Service is issuing a new commemorate Forever stamp of former President John F. Kennedy, celebrating his birth 100 years ago. For those who lived through the difficult days of the 1960s, these small reminders of JFK include memories of other great men of the times, of their hopes, of their pain and of their timely messages to us today.

With trembling voice, Senator Robert Kennedy broke the news in 1968 to a predominately African-American crowd gathered in Indianapolis: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had been killed. Kennedy stood on the back of a flat-bed truck while his police escort watched uneasily from afar.

Kennedy spoke briefly, looking into the faces in the night, reminding those gathered of Dr. King's dedication "to love and to justice between fellow human beings." And Kennedy spoke of his own pain of losing a brother who was killed by a white man. Kennedy urged his listeners
But we have to make an effort in the…

Messages of Love, ephemeral, eternal

You may have seen cancelled Love Skywriting Forever stamps on letters and packages. These commemorative stamps issued by the United States Postal Service are the latest in a series that celebrate the popular topic of Love.
This stamp issue adds a unique typography twist to the four letters that spell "Love" by using a small plane and skywriting on a partly cloudy sky.

Skywriting is a technology that has been around for decades. Pilots use small planes to write messages in the sky by mixing paraffin oil with smoky plane exhaust. When this mixture spills from the plane, it leaves scrawled marks in the sky. Skilled pilots maneuver aircraft so letters are formed and can be read by people below.

Skywriting is not witnessed as often as it was during the 1930s to 1950s. Today, communicators use other techniques and technology to send messages.

Prior to the man-made invention of skywriting, God used more elementary techniques for communicating love to his people. He sent God-ins…

I hope you can dance

Snow White sang and danced during a dark time in her life when the wicked Queen was searching for her.

Snow White danced, surrounded by people she loved. Most of all, she danced because she loved them. (Really? All of them? Some of those little men were ones only a mother could love. Yup, even "Dear, ol' Grumpy.")

Snow White didn't let fear keep her from the festival of joy in the moment.

I like Snow White. We can learn from her example.

My husband doesn't like to dance in public, so I've given up most pubic shows of energetic reactions to music that tempt me to sway more than an inch.

Some days we feel like dancing.

This last Sunday, I spent the day with a young grandson who turned 6. We were going to go to the Children's Museum in Portland, but first he came with me to church. We were in good spirits, and he was eager to tell everyone the good news (that he was 6, not the other Good News).

We sat near the back of the church, the second to the last r…

Underfoot, across the room, upstairs

Have you experienced joy and peace in a tough time? Our women's Bible study recently challenged me to remember and share an uncommon time of God's joy and peace.
February, 1987.
Living with four small children is busy. As a stay-at-home mom at the time, some days felt like living in a three-ring circus. I learned to keep looking around to see what little people were up to ... underfoot, across the room, upstairs.

When they were small, it seemed someone was always sick or thinking about it. So, when four-year-old Kimberly became clingy during her brother's birthday party, I thought she was jealous.

But, the next day, it became obvious Kimberly was coming down with something, a cold probably. And we knew it wouldn't be long before more were sick, again; they shared everything. So, we decided to get out of the house while we could.

After church, we drove to Locus Grove Nature Center, a favorite educational place for families with active young children. Especially on co…

What if we crash and burn?

The events of September 11, 2001, ache and rumble in One Tuesday Morning, by Karen Kingsbury.

In her novel, Kingsbury writes convincingly and with compassion of the horrors of the day when America came under attack and the lives of everyday people in America changed forever.

This book has been around for years. I've only recently read it. I was only going to review the book, but there is more to write.

Before the towers fell
When the call went out, Jake Bryan and his fire fighter buddies rushed into the World Trade Center while others fled. That morning he didn't believe he may be kissing his wife Jamie for the last time and leaving his daughter fatherless. Firefighting was what he loved to do. And he had a deal with God. Didn't he?

That evening in the hospital room, Jamie was horrified when Jake didn't recognize her. How could he forget their life together? The doctors explained that head injuries could be tricky and would take time to heal. But, how could…

Worth. Being. Presence.

I wrote the following blogpost a few years ago when I worked on a contract in Washington, D.C.  Reading this draft again today, the words spoke to my heart. I hope they speak to someone else as well.

Not too far from the Capitol building. Not too far from the Tidal Basin, so beautiful in spring, surrounded by fragile cherry blossoms for a short time.

Not too far from the Old Post Office tower and Smithsonian buildings and grassy Mall. I work in Washington, D.C.

A great city. Beautiful city. With powerful people, somewhere in passing cars or office buildings. Not people I know. Maybe some mingle among the people I see each day, large, small, walking, talking. Federal workers, contractors, subcontractors, business people, servers, security guards, tourists, panhandlers, joggers, students.

So many people. Can each be important in some way? Irreplaceable?

Looking around, it is easy not to feel too important in such a place. Not too powerful. Comparisons are deceptive that way sometimes.…

Begin again

Success, I've heard, is getting up one more time than you fall. I believe there is a lot of truth in that.

I find this strategy of beginning again helps me develop healthier eating habits and lifestyle. For most of a year now I have been going to Weight Watchers and eating better. Some weeks, as you may expect, are more successful than others. Over time, the better weeks add up. Or should I say, the losses achieved have added up. Now I'm more than 50 pounds lighter than a year ago. I feel like I've achieved something.

I am not alone. A fellow Weight Watcher shared her progress with the online community by posting a photograph: She held her 8-year old daughter and both gripped signs. One stated, "I lost 55 pounds," and the other, "I weigh 55 pounds." Neither achieved those numbers overnight. Progress takes time.

So, how are long-term goals achieved?

There are many strategies, tools and skills involved. In this blog post, I want to focus on just one: B…